Larry Schrecker is a representative of the Charleston Running Club on the Cooper River Bridge Run Board of Directors and is the board chairman for this year’s race. Unlike many board members, he is a runner. Schrecker, 41, is an investment adviser in Mount Pleasant and is the father of three children, including one with special needs.
Q: Ten years ago, would you have ever dreamed that you would be chairman of the Cooper River Bridge Run?
A: No. Ten years ago I had really not gotten back into running. I was a bit out of shape and struggling with a special needs child and a newborn at home, so running and civic involvement was not a big part of my life.
Q: Tell me how you came to running and what role it has played in your life?
A: I got interested in running back in the early 80’s when I started running some local 5K and 10K road races. I believe it was 1982 or 1983. I was 11 or 12 years old at the time. My first 10K was a food and fitness run at Brittlebank Park. My parents would not let me do the Bridge Run because they thought it would be too hard. I think my first Bridge Run was the following year in 1984. I continued to run road races and track through high school. I was never an elite runner but I really enjoyed it.
Q: You organized the Carolina Children’s Charity 8K in Hanahan and, along with your friend Mike McKenna, brought new life to the Catch the Leprechaun 5K. What led you in that direction?
A: My son, Will, led me in that direction. He has Angelman syndrome and Carolina Children’s Charity gave us some assistance to go to a conference to learn about the disorder. I felt like I needed to give back and I ended up on their board. Likewise, the Catch the Leprechaun was an effort to support the Pattison’s Academy, where Will has attended the camp and the school. I do enjoy the competitive aspects of running but mainly to compete with myself. I set a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon and accomplished that, which is my proudest moment from a competition standpoint.
Q: How does the Cooper River Bridge Run, along with Charleston’s array of other races, benefit the greater good of the community?
A: Charleston as a whole is a great city and is very active. People want to come to Charleston and the majority of the people that live here love it. On any given weekend there is typically more than one opportunity to participate in more than one fitness-related event. The Cooper River Bridge Run, in addition to our event, supports many of the other local events. The Bridge Run is the largest single tourism event in the city. My friend Bobby Ross, who owns The Windjammer at Isle of Palms, told me that the Bridge Run weekend surpassed Fourth of July and Labor Day as his busiest weekend.
Q: Last year’s Bridge Run featured a delayed start of nearly an hour. Do you think that hurt the race at all? And are you confident it won’t happen this year?
A: I knew you were going to ask about that. In the whole scheme of things, yes, the delay was a huge inconvenience for the participants and a black eye for us. With that said, I would rather have to wait an hour on a street for a road race then be stranded 5 days at sea on a cruise ship with no power. The delay was unacceptable to both the staff and the board of directors. I am very confident it will not happen again. I would be a fool to say the “g-word” (guarantee).
Q: If you could change or improve anything about the Bridge Run, what would it be?
A: I would like to see the Bridge Run put on a second event. We have the infrastructure and the know-how. It’s just a matter of the planning and making it happen.
Q: What are a few things that people can look forward to at this year’s race and the bridge runs in the years to come?
A: I’m excited about the expanded expo and packet pick up (at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston). I believe our expo will be taken to a whole new level by having more room and our participants are going to have a better experience with it being in a more accessible location. I also believe it will alleviate some of the traffic downtown and will actually increase the amount of the foot traffic in downtown traffic on Thursday and Friday.
Also, we have partnered with Wonderworks toy store and Wonderfest, for our Friday Kids run at Hampton Park. Kevin Adcock is the director of that event and I believe it will be taken to an entire new level this year.