By Mike Schuh

STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — For 31 years, on one day, the state closes down the Bay Bridge and allows people to walk and run across the span. Seven years ago, heightened security concerns forced its cancellation.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, the bridge crossing is coming back this weekend.

The bridge was shut down and opened up to foot traffic.

“It went off line for security and cost reasons. It then for the next seven years there were a number of groups bidding and trying to get it back on line,” said Sparrow Rodgers, race organizer.

Rodgers and her business partner succeeded. But to reimburse the state for nearly $1 million in costs, the walk had to change to a race where fees are charged.

“And it was a complicated thing. We needed a large starting field to make this possible. And so, we’re starting with 20,000 runners,” Rodgers said.

Right out of the gate, this is the fifth largest 10K in the country. Sparrow and company only have experience with a small race in St. Michaels, so they brought in instant credibility: Dave McGillivray.

McGillivray has been tested. He’s the race director for the Boston Marathon.

His overall experience before, during and after the bombing was crucial in keeping the state and local governments here calm when faced with 20,000 runners packed in the very small areas on either end of the bridge.

“We’re not just planning the event. We’re planning contingencies around the event in case certain things were to happen. How are we going to respond? Is there a plan in place so that we can act immediately and on our feet?” McGillivray said.

“I believe there is no better team in the world to manage this particular event for safety, for logistics,” Rodgers said.

Even if you’re not running the race you have to be aware that there will be some delays and disruptions in the area Sunday morning. One span of the Bay Bridge will be closed from 2 a.m. until 2 p.m.

All of the available slots are full. That means 20,000 people are going to participate on Sunday.

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