Yesterday, Fri. March 22, the Cooper River Bridge Run’s longtime director (he held the position from 1994 to Feb. 2019) Julian Smith III passed away after battling brain cancer. According to the Post & Courier, Smith is credited with making the Bridge Run what it is today — one of the largest races in the country.

Every year the Bridge Run sees upwards of 25,000 participants (and as many as 40,000, the race’s cap) — runners who come to Charleston from all over the world. Earlier this year the Bridge Run was named the top tourism event in the state, with an economic impact of $30 million.

Today the Cooper River Bridge Run released a statement in regards to Smith’s passing:

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the passing of Julian Smith on March 22, 2019.

Julian was the force that made the Cooper River Bridge Run what it is today, but beyond that was one of the most beloved people in the Charleston community.

He will forever be remembered as we honor his legacy at this year’s Cooper River Bridge Run and every race to come.

Arrangements will be made by James A. McAlister Funeral Home.

The 42nd annual Bridge run takes place in two weeks, on Sat. April 6.

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