MARATHON, Fla. – After its cancellation last year due to COVID-19, the 40th Annual Seven Mile Bridge Run took off Saturday at 6:45 a.m. with about 1,000 runners.
Staged each April, the footrace typically fills 1,500 racing slots, with its views over where the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico meet making it one of the most popular running events in the southeastern United States.
Anyone traveling in or out of the Keys Saturday morning had a bit of a wait if they weren’t aware of the event. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies closed the longest span of 42 bridges for three hours in both directions as the race was underway.
This year, organizers said they limited the run to only U.S.-based registered entrants who had previously registered for the 2020 run, who were not able to participate because of the cancellation.
Officials took coronavirus precautions, staggering starts in socially distanced groups of 10. Runners were told they were required to wear masks before beginning the race and as soon as they completed the run.
Small, electronic chips were embedded in each runner’s race number placard to be read by a computer sensor at the start and finish lines to determine times.
Because of the staggered starts, it will take several days for race officials to determine overall and divisional winners, organizers said.