TAMPA BAY – Thousands of people ran the inaugural Skyway 10K on March 4, several with ties to Anna Maria Island.
Perhaps the most notable is Mickey Hook, who took first place for a male in his age group, 55-64 years old, and came in 54th in the field of 7,606 runners.
SUBMITTED | Mike Haytack, Mike Broker
Hook is an award-winning runner who trains regularly, races and then takes a break the same time every year.
“I was on break when this race came up,” Hook said. “I went on light training to prepare and I practiced by running the Ringling Bridge (in Sarasota).”
Hook said he was impressed with the way the race was organized.
“I would definitely do it again,” he added.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Steve Stewart, who patrols the city of Anna Maria, also ran the race. He has been a runner since his middle school days.
“I wanted to be a football player, but the track coach worked with me and I really enjoyed running,” he said. “The most enjoyment for me is when it’s over and that big rush comes in.
“It was really fun,” he said of the Skyway 10K. “The bus ride was scarier than the run. While we were on the bus, we heard what sounded like an explosion,” he said. “We found out it was a howitzer, a cannon that the Army shot to celebrate the race, but you never know when you get a lot of people together.”
Stewart said he appreciated the fact that the race benefited the families of the military and he would do it again.
Bradenton Beach code enforcement officer Gail Garneau is an experienced runner who has competed in all 50 states. She participated because the setting was so unique.
“I thought the organizers did an amazing job,” she said. “It was fun to look down once I got to the top.”
Safety was a priority, she said.
“It was very well planned, and they screened everyone before we got on the bus,” Garneau said. “It was really fun.”
Her friend, Diane Sacca, volunteered for the race and they stayed in a nearby motel the night before to avoid the traffic to and from the scene. Garneau said they all parked at Tropicana, in Bradenton, and were bused to the bridge.
She also said she would run again.
Bradenton Beach City Treasurer Shayne Thompson stopped running until about five years ago when he took it up again.
“That’s when I discovered there was more that I needed,” he said.
He learned about the Skyway 10K in November or December and he decided to enter.
“There were thousands of people there enjoying it,” he said. “The cause was really unique and the logistics were fabulous.”
Thompson also said he would run to the top of the bridge again.