I was so excited and happy when I finally won this race last year. This was the first year of the race since Sonny Hyman passed away. He started this race and and was known for running on the bridges. It was weird last year running when he wasn't but he was still alive then. I was so glad I won it and he could read in the Carteret County News Times that I dedicated my win to him. It took me awhile to win this race and it took Sonny 8 years before he finally won his first Twin Bridges. The race shirts had the number 33 on the back of them this year as a tribute of Sonny. 33 and 3 were his lucky numbers. He always got a 3 in his number at local races. I wish the shirts were neon green also, that was his color. That would have been an even better tribute. Sonny is always going to be missed at local races, especially by me.
I've used this race in the past as a tune-up for a fall marathon. This year's race was also a tune-up; but not for a marathon but for the American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler that was serving as the North Carolina 10 Miles State Championship. I had two goals for this race. First, I wanted to win and repeat as winner. It's been awhile since Twin Bridges has had a male repeat winner. My second goal was to break 29:00. I've broke 29:00 once in a 5 miler in Rocky Mount but I haven't done it yet at Twin Bridges.
I maintained my lead up and over the bridge but knew there were several runners within a second or two of me. As soon as we came off the bridge I was hoping someone else would take the lead so we could take turns drafting but it didn't happen so I kept leading. The headwind was brutal, steady at 15-20mph, and gusts over that. I ran miles two and three in 6:10 and 6:11. My effort was there but the time was not reflecting it due to the wind. I was still leading and getting annoyed at the runners drafting me. I moved from side to side some on the road after mile 3 hoping to break the draft but where I went, they followed. I even slowed drastically around 3.5 miles hoping to force someone to take the lead but no one did. I think I could have stopped and they would have stopped behind me.
I was feeling fatigued and the wind was taking its toll on me but I was still leading and hoping I would drop the pack drafting me on the final uphill on the AB Bridge. We made the left turn and started up the final bridge. The wind wasn't as bad since it was hitting me more on the right shoulder instead of directly in my face. As we started up the bridge two runners pulled out from behind me and pushed up the bridge as I was doing. They ended up getting ahead of me and a third runner passed before we hit the top, dropping me to 4th place. I ran mile four in 6:19. I did a surge down the bridge and was gaining on 3rd place. 1st and 2nd placed were pulling away.
I wrote "Sonny" on my right arm for this race as a tribute to him. I also did it for the Boston Marathon and the Beaufort Road Race this year. I haven't decided if I will keep writing Sonny's name on my arm for future races. I may just do it one more time at the Lookout Rotary Spring Road Race in April if I get to do that race. I haven't been able to do Lookout since I won it in 2010. Sonny helped start that race as well. If I decide to keep writing Sonny's name on my arm it will probably just be at local races in Carteret County. I'll keep wearing his color of choice, neon green, as my tribute to him as well.
An awesome feature the race had this year was video of the finish provided by Run The East. You can view the video at the bottom of this post or directly on YouTube by clicking the link in this paragraph.