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Thousands of participants showed up Sunday to take part in the Terry Fox Run across the Confederation Bridge. ((Tracy Lightfoot/CBC))

Thousands of people crossed the Confederation Bridge between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick Sunday morning in honour of the 30th annual Terry Fox Run.

So many people wanted to take part in the run to raise money for cancer research, they created a nearly four-kilometre traffic tie-up on the P.E.I. side as they tried to get to the bridge at Borden-Carleton to begin the run. Some waited more than 30 minutes in traffic.

The traffic was nearly as bad on the New Brunswick side. As a result, the race started 40 minutes late,  just before 8 a.m.

In the end, about 10,000 people took part in the run — 3,000 more than were expected. Organizers said the extra runners hadn't pre-registered, but they were happy to see them.

"We don't turn anyone away and it's amazing that people did come out in the thousands for the Terry Fox Run," said Laurel Lee, who helped organize the run.

"We accommodated them onsite, but it did take us a little bit of additional time to move them through."

Mathew Allain, of Halifax, was the second person to finish the 13-kilometre run across the Confederation Bridge.

Allain completed the run in 53 minutes. He said he was thinking of his father who died of lung disease two years ago, and his mother who survived bladder cancer.

"The little bit of pain that we go through running is nothing compared to what some of these people have to endure," Allain said.

"That always goes through my mind whenever I'm running, how much pain and suffering these cancer patients have to go through."

The early count on the money raised on the bridge run is more than $200,000. People have until Oct. 15 to turn in their pledge cards, and thousands more is expected to be raised by then.

This was only the third time since the bridge's inauguration 13 years ago that it was opened to pedestrian traffic.