EDWARDSVILLE - Becky Bradley of Edwardsville was the ninth-place finisher in the women's Route 66 10K Run Road Race held recently through the streets and trails of downtown Edwardsville, coming in with a time of 47:08 on a very ideal day for running, with temperatures in the mid-60s, a nice breeze blowing throughout, low humidity and great cloud cover throughout the event.
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It was a great run indeed, and in her post-race interview, Bradley felt a bit tired but good about herself and her result.
"For a 60-year-old, I guess I'm OK," she said with a big smile. "It's a great run, it's the best run ever, it's the best 10K, perfect weather today, great crowd support and all the cheer stations. This is the best run anybody could ever do."
The cheer stations have been a very unique part of the race since its inception in 2007 as a part of the annual Route 66 Festival in downtown Edwardsville. They're set up by local charities and are scattered around the course to encourage and support the runners along the trail sections of the course. The competition among the cheer stations can be just as fierce as the race itself.
"It's great because when you're finished and you go online, as a runner, you vote for the cheer stations and they win a prize and then the money goes to the charity of their choice, I believe is how it goes," Bradley said. "It's awesome because it's great to have crowd support out there and when you're on the trails, there's not many people like in town. So, those cheer stations are awesome."
Bradley has been an avid runner for the last 23 years and is an active competitor in both the Route 66 run and the other two legs in the Goshen Triple Crown series, the 5K Run for Bonifest at St. Boniface Catholic church and the Covered Bridge 5K run in Glen Carbon.
"I've been running since 2000," Bradley said, "so a long time. I've done this run, this is 17 years. I haven't done it every year, but I've done a lot of them, so, it's great."
The running community and the supporters are very important to the race's success and Bradley thought it was great to see both runners and fans returning to support the race after the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-21.
"It's great to see the people back out," Bradley said, "the OGs, as I call them, the original runners that we've been a group and see people every race. It's awesome to get together."
The fact that the number of participants has been picking up since the end of the pandemic is indeed a very encouraging sign for the race and the Triple Crown series.
"It's awesome," she said of the Triple Crown running series. "It's great to see everybody out here. Everybody wants to get out and enjoy the nice weather and get back into fitness and be healthy."
in the case of Bradley, running is usually a family affair.
"We've been running as a family," Bradley said. "My husband ran today and my friends and my children, sometimes, and their friends. My friend here, we just ran Boston together."
Bradley was referring to Sam Brammeier, who won his age group in the race and both ran in the Boston Marathon, the world's most famous road race, this past April. Although hardly any race compares to the Boston Marathon, the Route 66 run comes pretty close.
"This is close," she said with a laugh. "The Boston of Edwardsville."
Bradley did compete in the Run for Bonifest the week before but will sit out the Covered Bridge Run on June 17 for a very good reason.
As a runner who's competed in the Triple Crown series in the past, Bradley does feel it's great and said something that all of the runners - and quite a few spectators - were feeling at the time."
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