COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Governor's Cup Road Race, one of the area's oldest running events, has undergone a major transformation leading into its 44th annual affair.
In addition to a dramatic course change and race distance adjustments, the event has moved from its normal fall position on the calendar to spring in order to avoid football season and having to compete with a large number of fall events.
Starting in 2016, the race will now take place on May 14, Saturday following Mother's Day, joining several other Midlands late-winter/early-spring long distance races, including the Columbia Run Hard and Newberry Half Marathons in March, the Palmetto Half Marathon in early-April and the off-road Firebreak Half Marathon in early-May.
The "new and improved" Governor's Cup's course connects major sites in downtown Columbia, as well as across the Congaree River with a finish line located near the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in the Congaree Vista.
Previously, the mainly out-and-back half-marathon course took runners from the State House east through residential rolling neighborhoods before returning through Five Points and finishing on the University of South Carolina campus.
The new course starts on Main Street and weaves through downtown Columbia before moving into West Columbia over the Gervais Street Bridge. From there, runners make their way through parts of Cayce and back into Columbia via the Blossom Street Bridge. The course continues on Blossom Street to Five Points. The much-maligned final mile ascent up Blossom Street has been eliminated as runners will descend into Five Points around mile eight. Miles 9, 10 and 11 take place in Shandon before runners head through campus to the finish line near the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
The 8K race has been replaced with a 5K run. In addition, the new Main Street Mile will take place on May 13, the Friday night prior to the half-marathon and 5K. A 5K walk and kids' fun run are also planned.