Skip to main content
Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 5, 2019 5 months ago

Up and over: Sarasotans and the Ringling Bridge

You can walk, run or bike your way from downtown Sarasota to St. Armands Circle with help from the Ringling Bridge.
by: Whitney Elfstrom Staff Writer

If you’re a Sarasota resident, chances are you feel right at home 65 feet in the air as you walk, jog or run.

No, there aren’t hilly stretches in these parts. Just the John Ringling Causeway.

The half-mile, over-water stretch can be found dotted most days with marathon trainers, afternoon joggers or sunset walkers who are looking to get their heart rate elevated and their blood pumping.

Maybe it’s the breezes that seem to circulate along the bridge that can make hot, humid summertime workouts a bit more palatable. Or maybe it’s the view of Sarasota Bay with the backdrop of downtown’s gleaming towers.

But even in the Florida summer heat, where the average high is 89.5 degrees, and the low is 74 degrees, the action doesn’t stop.

Built in 2003 and named for the circus magnate, developer and philanthropist, Ringling Causeway stretches 2.6 miles from Marina Plaza to St. Armands Circle. Figure about an hour of walking, round trip.

Thinking about running Ringling Bridge? Be sure to stay hydrated, pace yourself and take some advice from these Ringling Bridge veterans.

Heather Hayes, 50

Heather Hayes power walks over the Ringling Bridge twice-a-week.

For Hayes, the Ringling Bridge is one of the most breathtaking spots in the city.

“Sarasota used to be known as the air-conditioned city, and you still get the breeze from the bay,” Hayes said. “The scenery, the water and the people watching … the bridge is majestic. Every day there’s something new.”

Hayes power-walks over the Sarasota Bay twice a week — something that she said she used to do more before a back injury — while she listens to the podcast “Snap Judgment.”

Kathy Bush, 64

Kathy Bush loves the view from the top of the Ringling Bridge.

Bush can be found running up and down the Ringling Bridge once a week to give her exercise routine a little extra challenge.

A runner for 30 years, Bush said the summer heat took some getting used to when she started, but now it barely bothers her.

As for her favorite part? “The beautiful view that can be seen from every angle.”

Joseph Albano, 71

Working out on the Ringling Bridge is a therapeutic experience for Joseph Albano.

Exercising on the Ringling Bridge is an every-morning affair for Albano, who lives nearby.

 For him, it’s about more than just getting his steps in; it’s a therapeutic place to plan his day.

Albano opts for an outside workout rather than inside despite having a personal trainer at his gym because “working out in a gym feels like a chore.” 

He said his favorite workout is to run one side of the bridge and walk the other.

“[Walking the bridge] helps eliminate any anxiety or pain in my body once the endorphins kick in,” Albano said.

I’m the Sarasota community reporter, which means I cover the people, places and things of Sarasota. I graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a degree in journalism and digital communication and a minor in English. 

See All Articles by Whitney

Related Stories