julian smith

Longtime Cooper River Bridge Run Race Director Julian Smith passed away on Friday, March 22.

Julian Eugene Smith III, 67, of Charleston entered into eternal rest on Friday, March 22 surrounded by his loving family. The relatives and friends of Smith are invited to attend his Visitation between 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 at the James A. McAlister Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life will take place between 6-8 p.m. that evening at Hibernian Hall, 105 Meeting St, Charleston.

Smith was born June 20, 1951, the eldest son of the late Julian Eugene Smith Jr. and Shirley Speed Smith. He was a graduate of Baptist College where he received a business gegree and began his career working with student financial aid at the Medical University of South Carolina. Smith then transitioned to become the wellness director of the Student Wellness Center, which led to him being asked to become the director of the Cooper River Bridge Run in 1994. During his 25 year career as director, Smith transformed the Bridge Run into a world-class running event, attracting celebrities, record participation, and well-respected athletes and sponsors. Always a proponent of growth and change, he incorporated a Kid’s Run Festival, musical talent throughout the race course, a Bridge Run Hall of Fame and created a week’s worth of additional events to increase excitement and benefit the local economy. His favorite aspect of directing the race was building relationships and promoting the race, and Charleston, throughout the country by travelling to other races.

Aside from his incredible contributions to the Charleston Community through his work with the Cooper River Bridge Run, Smith was also involved in activities including the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble Walk, The Reindeer Run, The Health and Wellness Expo, and Second Sunday events on King Street. He was also the Director of the Asheville 10K and Half Marathon in Asheville, NC. Smith consulted on numerous other races across the country including the Portland Marathon, the Marine Marathon, the Peachtree Marathon, and the Big Sur Marathon. He was also instrumental in a race in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Throughout his life Smith worked in fundraising for the MUSC Children’s Hospital.

Although Smith was most proud of his work with the Cooper River Bridge Run, he spent his personal life pursuing other passions. He always had a sense of adventure that he satisfied with traveling around the world and sailing. Family members fondly remember summers spent at the Isle of Palms sailing with him on his catamaran. Smith became a Master Gardener through Clemson University and was featured as a Garden Designer for one of the Design Showcase Houses in Charleston. Thirty years ago, he took these gardening skills and ordered Eucalyptus seedlings from California that he turned into a booming business. In what little free time he had, he could be found working on his Eucalyptus Farm on Johns Island and selling his plants, clippings, wreaths, and other items at the Charleston City Market or the Farmer’s Market. He used this talent to assist in fundraising for multiple organizations including the Medical University of South Carolina Women’s Club creating wreaths for Christmas. One of Smith's proudest accomplishments with his Eucalyptus business was being asked to assist in feeding the Koala Bears at the Riverbank Zoo in Columbia. Always the entrepreneur, he started his business career at the age of 10 years old with an egg route. He went on to own and operate Evergreen Alley and East Bay Gardens Retail Businesses. He also had an interest in real estate and bought, sold, rented, and designed homes and businesses including The Captain’s House in I’on in Mount Pleasant.


Julian Smith smiles as he stands above the start line of the 2014 Cooper River Bridge Run. During his 25 year career as director, he transformed the Bridge Run into a world-class running event.

Smith was larger than life with a laugh that could be heard across the room. He loved to tell jokes and stories. Friends and family will remember his unique expressions and his mischievous grin for years to come.

Over the course of his career, Smith received numerous awards and most recently was awarded The Jefferson Award for Community Service, the Keeping the Faith Award for his contributions to raising awareness of Glioblastoma, and The Willie Jeffries Ambassador for Sports Award. He was also named Race Director Emeritus for the 2019 Cooper River Bridge Run. Since his Glioblastoma diagnosis in April 2018, Smith worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. He successfully hosted a fundraising event for The Hollings Cancer Center Glioblastoma Program and assisted in raising $100,000 for research.

Smith was predeceased by his father, Julian Eugene Smith Jr. and his brother, Paul Anthony Smith. Julian is survived by his mother, Shirley Speed Smith, his brother, Charlie Smith (the late Robin Smith) his sister, Susan Fox, his long time girlfriend, Maureen (Mo) Sheakley, and sister-in-law, Cathy Sineath. Surviving family members also include nieces and nephews, Ryan Fox (Kate), Jennifer Fox (the late Brian Flathmann), Meghan Manley (Jacob), Sarah Smith (Charlie Palmer), Lewis Smith (Dionne Romanski), and Cailin Sineath. Julian is also survived by a host of cousins and numerous friends who have become like family.

The Smith family would like to thank Dr. David Cachia and Dr. Brad Keith of MUSC, who provided excellent medical care for him and extended kindness and caring to the family as well. They would also like to thank MSA Hospice for the care that was provided to Smith during his final days.

The family will accept flowers or donations can be made in Smith's  memory to the following: MUSC Foundation (memo line Julian Smith), Hollings Cancer Center Office of Development (86 Jonathan Lucas St. MSC 955 Charleston, SC 29425) or (musc.ejoinme.org) or to The Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital (MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund, 59 Bee St. MSC 201 Charleston, SC 29425).