JOHN L. RUSSELL / AP Enlarge
MACKINAW CITY, Mich. - Shattering her own record time, Gov. Jennifer Granholm dashed across the 5-mile-long Mackinac Bridge yesterday before setting her sights on a bigger race: the presidential election.
Ms. Granholm and about 275 runners chosen by lottery led the way across the span linking Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas, renewing a 51-year tradition on the final holiday of summer.
About 40,000 others followed at a more leisurely pace - most on foot, some in strollers or wheelchairs.
"Wonderful morning. Beautiful sunrise. Perfect weather. What more could you ask for?" Ms. Granholm said after posing for pictures with other joggers.
Michigan's governor has led the annual walks since G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams joined a small delegation that trudged across the newly constructed bridge in 1958.
But Ms. Granholm, a fitness advocate and regular runner, upped the ante by trotting across in 2003, finishing in about 47 minutes. She has improved her time since then.
Mackinac Bridge Authority leaders say no official records are kept, but Ms. Granholm's claim to the gubernatorial speed title is apparently undisputed.
This year her time was 35 minutes, 27 seconds.
Her husband, Dan Mulhern, crossed the finish line with her, while 11-year-old son Jack clocked an impressive 42 minutes.
Pleasure quickly gave way to business as Ms. Granholm departed for Monroe, where fellow Democrat Barack Obama campaigned for the White House.
Her advice for the Illinois senator: Focus on "change, change, change."
"We're almost the poster state for how the Bush years have been damaging," Ms. Granholm said in Mackinaw City.
"We don't want to support outsourcing of jobs. We want to attract alternative and renewable energy jobs here. We want to make sure we have someone who stands up for our manufacturing industry."
Ms. Granholm said she was more optimistic about Mr. Obama's prospects since presumptive Republican nominee John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, instead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has Michigan ties.
Clipboard-wielding Obama supporters were at the walk to register new voters, although Jack Harris of Indian River acknowledged after a couple of hours he'd had no takers.45.78068 -84.72556