MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Skyway 10K began Sunday morning with thousands of runners taking a moment to honor our nation’s colors.

Volunteers marched through the crowd lead by bagpiper Josh Johnston.

“As soon as you start picking up the bag pipes, everyone just splits in the crowd,” Johnston said. “Everyone sees the flag; it’s awesome.”

With the blast of a cannon, they were off.

Waves of runners took on a 6.2-mile run across the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

“Where else can you go where they shut down a bridge, connecting two counties, a major thoroughfare through the state of Florida?,” asked Sandy as she stood at the start line. “I—there’s no words.”

“There’s about 1,000 people between volunteers, 160 school bus drivers, law enforcement, search and rescue folks– everyone on scene to help put this thing on,” said Skyway 10K spokesperson James Judge. “You’ve got Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, St. Petersburg.”

Trooper Toni Schuck was honored Sunday morning for her bravery at the race last year.
On March 6, 2022, she heard over the radio that a suspected drunken driver had slammed through the barricades and was heading toward thousands of runners at about 100 mph.

Schuck crashed into the vehicle head on, saving thousands of lives.

“She was our lead car that took off with the first wave,” said creative director Niki Austin. “We always have somebody start the event and this year it was her.”

“We were so honored she was able to do that,” she said.

The Skyway 10K not only gives runners an unforgettable experience crossing the flagship bridge of Florida, but it’s also for a good cause.

100% of the race registration fees go to the Armed Forces Families Foundation, a non-profit in Clearwater.
“We put it back into military families,” Austin said. “Things that give them a sense of community.”