SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County cross country runner Megan Hilton finished first in the 15-19 age group in the 5K Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on Saturday.
Hosted by the Savannah Sports Council, the event takes runners over the Talmadge Bridge with the city of Savannah as its backdrop. Aside from the picturesque setting, runners have a chance to test their will over the steep and narrow bridge.
Although she didn't run to win, Hilton took note of her time and pace and realized she could be a contender within her age group.
"I was really excited because I didn't expect it," she said. "When I was wanting to do the bridge run, it was a last-minute thing. I didn't know if I was going to do it.
“When I started running, I got in competition mode. I had to wait until the end to find out I won. There was a girl in front of me but I didn't know what age group she was in so I didn't know who won first. I tried to keep a count of the people in front of me."
Hilton's first impression of the bridge's stature and length led her to believe it was going to be a difficult run. As she made the journey upward, she realized it was similar to the most important course she runs on every year.
"In my head, I was thinking it was going to be a lot worse," Hilton said. "It was pretty steep but it was a gradual thing. It reminded me of the long hill at the state course in Carrollton."
As Hilton looked back on her big day, she celebrated conquering the challenge as much as the outcome.
"I wanted to challenge myself just to see if it was as hard as it sounded," she said. "I wanted to do it to be able to say I did it."