Fans cheer on runners head up the Hart Bridge

Fortunately there's some fans to cheer them on.
Fortunately there's some fans to cheer them on.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the big things you hear from runners is how much the fan support means to them during the Gate River Run. Especially at the beginning of the Hart Bridge.

People began lining up about an hour and a half before runners would even start heading up "the Green Monster."

"It's nothing like when you're on the course itself, and when you feel that you're tired and can't make it, you've got people cheering you on and just pushing you," said Mike Ryan.

"Every year I look forward to being up here and cheering them up. This bridge takes a toll on them so it's good to hear that enthusiasm for other people," said Alba Rosa.

Recreational runners head up "The Green Monster"
Recreational runners head up "The Green Monster"

Runners are already more than 7 miles into the race, knowing they have to run up the bridge is something that can discouraging. That's why the supporters shout out their names and offer words of encouragement.

"The funny thing is when you call their name and cheer them up. They wonder how you know them, but you've read their name and it's a great feeling for them knowing that somebody is here to support them," said Rosa.

Mike Ryan ran the race the last two years, but couldn't this year, so he decided to be a part of it in another way.

"It's a tough incline up that bridge, but everybody does it and everybody enjoys it," said Ryan.