From the rolling hills and valleys to the meandering rivers, Eau Claire is nature at its best. This year’s Eau Claire Marathon will take runners on a scenic journey across 11 of the city’s bridges, making the race truly unforgettable.
The first bridge that runners will go over is the Carson Park Drive Bridge, which stretches across Half Moon Lake. Runners could miss this bridge if they blink since it is probably one of the shortest bridges during the trek. It will take them out of the park and through the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood. Those doing the half marathon will approach this bridge at the beginning of the race while those doing the full marathon will cross over at the one mile marker.
The next bridge is the Phoenix Park Railroad Bridge, a pin-connected Whipple railroad truss bridge. Runners will reach this at the beginning of the second mile for the full marathon and just after the first mile for the half marathon. The Chippewa River flows under this bridge, carrying with it a cool breeze. Runners will find this quite refreshing!
The third bridge in this long journey is the High Bridge, which opened to the public during summer 2015. It stands about 80 feet above the Chippewa River and stretches for almost 900 feet. Runners will enjoy an incredible view of not only the Chippewa River but also downtown Eau Claire! This bridge will be at the beginning of the third mile for the full marathon and the second mile for the half marathon.
The Old Wells Road Bridge has a bit of an incline as it goes over one of the city’s historic railroads. Runners will cross this bridge at the fourth mile for the full marathon and third mile for the half marathon. They will get a view of homes tucked away in this quiet neighborhood on one side along with the Chippewa River on their other side.
The North Crossing Bridge is a long stretch over the Chippewa River that offers magnificent views of the river and waterfront homes. The gusts of wind from the cars along the highway will surely cool runners down. Runners for the full marathon will reach this point at the end of the fourth mile. Those running the half marathon will approach it at the start of the fourth mile.
Runners will love the view from the Hastings Way Bridge, which is probably one of the highest bridges in the city. This bridge sits at the 19th mile for the full marathon and the sixth mile for the half marathon. It spans the Eau Claire River, with the city of Altoona sitting on the east side of it. As runners come to the end of the bridge, they’ll also get a great view of Archery Park below.
Runners may feel the wood shake underneath their feet as they hit up the Boyd Park Bridge. This steel and timber bridge goes over the Eau Claire River, connecting the recreational trail on the Banbury side to the neighborhood park. Runners will cross this bridge at 20.5 miles for the full marathon and 7.5 miles for the half marathon.
The Soo Line “S” Bridge is an old bridge with a unique steel truss railroad structure that once carried trains. It was turned into a recreational trail, keeping its “S” shape and curving its way across the Eau Claire River. The bridge sits at the beginning of the eighth mile for the half marathon and the beginning of the 21st mile for the full marathon.
Runners will enjoy the serene beauty that surrounds this bridge along with the gently flowing river below. The Dewey Street Bridge crosses over the Eau Claire River with its unique arch structure made of concrete. Runners can catch a glimpse of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, the Volume One Headquarters, or even a flock of ducks that enjoy the flow of the river. Runners cross this bridge at 8.5 miles for the half marathon and 21.5 miles for the full marathon.
The Eau Claire River Bridge runs along Barstow Street. Although not as fancy as the Dewey Street Bridge, it still offers great views, especially a close up of the Haymarket Plaza and the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. Runners will pass this at the end of the 21st mile for the full marathon and the end of the eighth mile for the half marathon.
The last bridge on this 26.2 mile journey is the University Walking Bridge, known for being one of the coldest places in the winter. This bridge approaches at the start of the 24th mile for the full marathon and the 11th mile for the half marathon. Runners won’t mind the cool breeze that comes over them though as they get closer to the finish line. From here, runners can get a view of the hill on campus and maybe even see a few spectators soaking up the sun as they float down the river in their tubes and kayaks.
There is something special about a city that builds itself around multiple bodies of water. Not only will this year’s marathon runners get a scenic tour of Eau Claire, but they’ll also experience why our city is known as the “City of Bridges.”
The Eau Claire Marathon doesn’t end when the final person crosses the finish line… Swing by the Visit Eau Claire Post-Race Celebration on Water Street for good beer, plenty of water, live music and free giveaways! Centrally located, this party will be located right on the Chippewa River bike trail and very close to some of Eau Claire’s favorite local restaurants. Check out the Eau Claire-Stream, dance to live music, take lots of pictures and sip on some delicious beer (or rootbeer)! We can’t wait to celebrate with you!!