BRIDGES • 11-2+3=12 bridges in 2020 (plus one post Race Bonus Bridge)
Bridges of Eau Claire
CROSSING THE CHIPPEWA & EAU CLAIRE RIVERS - 2017
by Pan Thao
top photo by @schruppie222, Instagram
There is something special about a city that builds itself around multiple bodies of water. Not only will this year's marathon runners get a scenic tour of Eau Claire, but they'll also experience why our city is known as the "City of Bridges." This year's Eau Claire Marathon will take runners on a scenic journey across 11 of the city's bridges, and you don't want to miss a single one. In addition to the challenge of running the full or half marathon, runners are also challenged to hit every bridge on the map. How many bridges can you check off your list?
The first bridge that runners will go over is the Carson Park Drive Bridge, which stretches across Half Moon Lake. Runners could easily miss this bridge since it is one of the shortest bridges during the trek. It will take them out of the park and through the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood. Those doing the half marathon will approach this bridge at the beginning of the race while those doing the full marathon will cross it at the one mile marker.
The next bridge is the Phoenix Park Railroad Bridge, a pin-connected Whipple railroad truss bridge. Runners will reach this at the beginning of the second mile for the full marathon and just after the first mile for the half marathon. The Chippewa River flows under this bridge, carrying with it a cool breeze. Runners will find this quite refreshing; a must for the checklist!
The third bridge in this long journey is the High Bridge, which opened to the public during summer 2015. It stands about 80 feet above the Chippewa River and stretches for almost 900 feet. Runners will enjoy an incredible view of the Chippewa River and downtown Eau Claire! This bridge will be at the beginning of the third mile for the full marathon and the second mile for the half marathon.
The Old Wells Road Bridge has a bit of an incline as it goes over one of the city's historic railroads. Runners will cross this bridge at the fourth mile for the full marathon and third mile for the half marathon. They will get a view of homes tucked away in this quiet neighborhood on one side along with the Chippewa River on their other side.
The North Crossing Bridge is a long stretch over the Chippewa River that offers magnificent views of the river and waterfront homes. The gusts of wind from the cars along the highway will surely cool runners down. Runners for the full marathon will reach this point at the end of the fourth mile. Those running the half marathon will approach it at the start of the fourth mile.
Runners will love the view from the Hastings Way Bridge, one of the highest bridges in the city. This bridge sits at the 19th mile for the full marathon and the sixth mile for the half marathon. It spans the Eau Claire River, the city of Altoona sitting on the east side of it. As runners come to the end of the bridge, they'll get a great view of Archery Park below.
Runners may feel the wood shake underneath their feet as they hit up the Boyd Park Bridge. This steel and timber bridge goes over the Eau Claire River, connecting the recreational trail on the Banbury side to the neighborhood park. Runners will cross this bridge at 20.5 miles for the full marathon and 7.5 miles for the half marathon.
The Soo Line "S" Bridge is an old bridge with a unique steel truss railroad structure that once carried trains. It was turned into a recreational trail, keeping its "S" shape and curving its way across the Eau Claire River. The bridge sits at the beginning of the eighth mile for the half marathon and the beginning of the 21st mile for the full marathon.
Pretty scenery and pretty bridge? Check! Runners will enjoy the serene beauty that surrounds the Dewey Street Bridge along with the gently flowing river below. Its unique concrete arch structure crosses over the Eau Claire River. Runners can catch a glimpse of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, the Volume One Headquarters, or even a flock of ducks that enjoy the flow of the river.
The Eau Claire River Bridge runs along Barstow Street. Although not as fancy as the Dewey Street Bridge, it offers great views, especially of the Haymarket Plaza and the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. Runners will pass this at the end of the 21st mile for the full marathon and the eighth mile for the half marathon.
Check off the last bridge on this journey: the Water Street Bridge. This classic connector is a direct link between downtown Eau Claire and the university area. The best part about this last bridge is it's the Bluegold Mile and there's going to be a huge party waiting at the finish line!