On Sept. 5, 1959, the first Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk was held and more than 15,000 hikers joined Gov. G. Mennen Williams as he set the first time record for governors, crossing the 4.5-mile span in 65 minutes.
The rest of the story:
The International Walkers Association organized the first bridge walk on June 25, 1958 — from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace. Some 60 people hoofed it, including Gov. G. Mennen (Soapy) Williams, according to “Mackinac Bridge: A 50-year Chronicle, 1957-2007” by Mike Fornes. In 1959, the walk moved to Labor Day. The route’s direction alternated until 1964, when it permanently became north to south. An average of 50,000 people participate annually.
For the full article, see Martha Thierry, “Labor Day Mackinac Bridgewalk”, Detroit Free Press, August 29, 2013.