ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WWJ/AP) –  Gov. Rick Snyder led thousands of walkers and runners across the Mackinac Bridge for one of Michigan’s most popular Labor Day traditions.

The annual Mackinac Bridge walk took place Monday morning across the five-mile long span. Snyder was among the walkers, crossing the span at a brisk 12-minute-per-mile pace.

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Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950, prior to the event, Snyder said it’s his second year taking part, and he planned to beat last year’s time of 62 minutes for the five-mile trek.

“I watch my pace a little bit better, cause what I found is, is I probably could have broken an hour last year, but I didn’t really pay attention towards about the last part and then I really hit the gas in terms of walking fast, so hopefully I’ll do a little better pace studying this year,” Snyder said. (Note: Gov. Snyder actually finished the race in 63 minutes. That’s a minute slower than last year’s time and a minute short of his goal of one hour.)

It’s the 55th annual walk, which starts in St. Ignace and heads south to the Lower Peninsula, ending in Mackinaw City.

Labor Day is the one time each year when pedestrians can use the bridge across the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge.

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On another topic, as the Democratic National Convention unfolds this week in North Carolina, a lot of talk is expected to center around Republican Mitt Romney and his past comments on the federal loans to the auto industry.

Romney has said he wouldn’t have bailed out automakers until after an organized bankruptcy. But Snyder says none of that matters now.

“Well, it’s an overblown issue,” Snyder said. “I think people spend way too much time kind of second-guessing what could have happened. It was important it got done, because it did keep the supply chain going, but the main thing is it got done.”

Snyder said the focus now should be on job creation.

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