As the Cooper River Bridge Run celebrates its 40th race Saturday, many might think first of the tens of thousands of participants who make it one of the nation's largest road races.

But in its four decades, the Bridge Run also has drawn a number of running legends and elite athletes.

Some won and even set course records along the way. Others showed up a few years past their prime but still added their name and cache to the race's increasingly rich history.

With input from Bridge Run historian Cedric Jaggers and former Bridge Run elite runner coordinator Howie Schomer, The Post and Courier came up with a list of a dozen, plus one, of some of the most famous runners to "get over it."

They include:

1. Frank Shorter

The man who arguably ignited the running boom in the 1970s, with gold and silver medals in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic marathons, respectively, came to the Bridge Run in 1983.

At the race expo, he predicted he would break 30 minutes. But Shorter ultimately took longer: He finished in fifth place with a time of 31 minutes, 10 seconds.

2. Catherine Ndereba

Nicknamed "Catherine the Great," Ndereba lived up the title both in Charleston and around the world. She won the Bridge Run an unprecedented three consecutive times, 2000-2002.

During those same years, she made news at the Boston Marathon, winning in 2000 and 2001 and coming in second in 2002. (She also won Boston in 2004 and 2005). She took silver medals in the marathon at 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

3. Grete Waitz

The Norwegian runner who won the New York City Marathon nine times and won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympic marathon also did well here. She won the Bridge Run in 1989 with a time of 33:29.

4. Elana Meyer

The South African who won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters in the 1992 Olympics won the Bridge Run in 31:19, which remains the female course record.

5. James Koskei

The Kenyan who won San Francisco's famed Bay to Breakers 12K an unprecedented four times was nearing his personal record 10K in April 2000 when he set the standing record for the Bridge Run: 27:40.

Weeks later, he dropped that time 27:36 in another race. He was the first runner to run under 28 minutes on any Bridge Run course.

6. Bill Rodgers

Long past his prime, another icon of the 1970s - Bill "Boston Billy" Rodgers - still caused quite a stir when he came to Cooper River Bridge Run in 2014 and 2015.

Like Shorter, the Boston native owns a large share of starting the running boom with Boston Marathon wins in 1975, 1978, 1979 and 1980 and New York City Marathon wins in 1977 and 1978. At the Bridge Run, he ran easy with former rival, local elite runner Bob Schlau.

7. Geoff Smith

Like Rodgers but lesser known, Geoff Smith is running royalty (he won Boston in 1984 and 1985). Smith came to the Bridge Run last year but with no intent to set any records. In his heyday, the British Olympian was known for his range of talent times across the board — from a 3:55 mile to a 2:09:08 marathon.

8. Dr. George Sheehan

While not an elite athlete in the conventional sense, Dr. George Sheehan was an a guru of running for the first generation of American runners.

The cardiologist was the medical editor and popular columnist for "Runner's World" magazine and he wrote the book, "Running & Being: The Total Experience." Sheehan came to the Bridge Run in 1984 and 1985 to speak at the expo, but he also won the "65 and over" age group both years with relatively remarkable times of 40:20 and 42:26. He died from prostate cancer in 1993.

9. Khalid Khannouchi

Even though his remarkable time of 28:15 only got him a third place finish at the 1997 Bridge Run, Khalid Khannouchi was on the verge of running greatness.

The Morroccan-born, American runner won the Chicago Marathon later that year and then went on to set two world records in the marathon: 2:05:42 at Chicago in 1999 and 2:05:38 in London. (The current record is held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya with a time of 2:02:57 at Berlin in 2014.

10. Lelisa Desisa

When Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa won the Bridge Run in 2011, a much bigger event would mark his life two years later. Desisa won the Boston Marathon in 2013 two hours before two bombs ripped through the finish line, killing three spectators and wounded 264 others.

In the aftermath, he formed a bond with the people of Boston and presented his winner's medal back to city as a token of his love. Two years later, Desisa won Boston again and this time got to enjoy the accomplishment, sans tragedy.

11. Liz McColgan

In the 1996 Bridge Run, one of Scotland's greatest female runners, Liz McColgan, ran behind Kenya's Catherine Ndereba for five and half miles before kicking past her to finish in 31:41 (a female record until Elana Meyer set the current record in 1997).

McColgan's achievement came after her glory days. She won an silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics in Seoul, Korea, in 1988, and golds in the 10,000 meters at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 and 1990.

12. Bob Schlau

Charleston's very own Bob Schlau, who has every Bridge Run to date, was an accomplished runner on a national level, qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 1984 and 1988 (at the ages of 36 and 40, respectively) with times of 2:17:16 (a personal best) and 2:19:27.

Schlau won the Los Angeles Marathon, beating both legends Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, in 1988. In 1989, he was ranked top U.S. Masters (age 40 and up) Runner of the Year by the The Athletics Congress and by the Road Racers of America Club.

13. Benji Durden

The Atlantan won the very first Cooper River Bridge Run in 30:22, more than a minute faster than his closest competitor. Benji Durden went on to qualify for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Marathon team but ultimately was unable to compete because of the U.S. boycott of those games, held in Moscow, because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Durden's lifetime best marathon time of 2:09:57 resulted in a third place finish in the 1983 Boston Marathon.

-- Compiled by David Quick, Cedric Jaggers and Howie Schomer

Contact David Quick at 843-937-5516. Follow him on Twitter @DavidQuick.