credit: Clancy Creative/Mt. Hope Bridge 5K

Summer storms did little to deter the runners and walkers that partook in the first-ever Topsail Realty Mt. Hope Bridge 5K on Saturday. While rain pelted volunteers during set up, the skies cleared just in time for the 7:30 AM start. The race, which took participants from Portsmouth to Bristol on a 3.1-mile course, was the first—ever pedestrian event that crossed the Mt. Hope Bridge.

The race, which sold out nearly a week ahead of the event date, benefited the Bristol Rotary and their partner charities. The event was hosted by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority and produced by Gray Matter Marketing.

“We are so pleased with the success of the inaugural Mt Hope Bridge 5K,” says Gina Helm, Director of the Bristol Rotary. “We are truly grateful to RITBA, Gray Matter Marketing and most importantly our loyal sponsors for their generous support. Despite the severe weather the morning of the event, the crowds still showed up and then the weather cleared, allowing us great views over the bridge.”

Bryce O’Brien, a 19-year-old from Bristol, was the first across the bridge and across the finish line, with an elapsed race time of 16 minutes and 38 seconds. Not far behind, 16-year-old Nick Januario, also from Bristol, finished in 16:45. Ben Chase, a 15-year-old from Portsmouth, rounded out the men’s podium, coming in at 17:07.

Kristen Legendre, 33, from Uxbridge, MA was the first female to finish the race, finishing in just 20 minutes and 33 seconds. Jaqueline Shakar, 58, from Sutton, MA finished second with a time of 20:55. Completing the women’s podium was Meg O’Brien, 17, from Bristol, finishing in 22:05.

The top three men and women were presented with beautiful, framed photographs of the Mt. Hope Bridge at sunrise, presented by Century 21 Topsail Realty’s owner, Michael Fonseca.  “My wife and I were overwhelmed by the support and participation from our community and were honored to be chosen as the title sponsor for this historic event,” says Fonseca. “We are more than appreciative for all of the volunteers who came out to help. The event would not have been as successful without their hard work to make the event seamless. We look forward to making this a growing tradition.”

Following the event, Gillary’s Taphouse and Judge Roy Bean Saloon, both in Bristol, opened early and offered breakfast and beverage specials to hungry runners and their supporters and fans.

“We are very pleased with the support from the community and then enthusiasm for this race,” says Matt Gray, President of Gray Matter Marketing. “Between selling the event out nearly a week ahead, and how much fun our runners and walkers had crossing the Mt. Hope Bridge by foot for the very first time, we’re looking forward to continuing this new summertime race tradition.”

More information is available on the Mt. Hope Bridge 5K Facebook page and website,