On Sunday morning, Geoff Nelson of Providence was first to cross the finish line of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority’s Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run, sponsored by Newport Hospital.
However, he was followed by many Portsmouth residents.
Of the 2,500 people who entered, 2,218 athletes crossed the finish line of the four-mile course. The youngest competitors were four eight-year olds, and the oldest was Helen DiDonato of South Kingstown, who celebrated her 88th birthday on Sunday.
The views of the sunrise over Narragansett Bay were a reward for the runners and walkers, especially after they completed the ascent to the top of the Newport Pell Bridge.
Clay Pell, grandson of the bridge’s namesake – Senator Claiborne Pell – ran the race and met his fianceé, U.S. Olympian and World Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan at the finish line.
To the surprise of Kym Boardman, her boyfriend, Alexander Hurd, asked her to marry him at the top of the bridge, with family members looking on. The answer was “yes!”
A complete list of participants and their times can be found here: http://runrhody.com/admin/upload/Pell%20Bridge%20Run%20Overall.pdf
Event proceeds will benefit not-for-profit organizations such as the YMCA of Newport County, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center of Newport, Special Olympics of Rhode Island, Meeting Street, and March of Dimes Rhode Island.