Florida Keys Seven Mile Bridge Run Attracts 1,500 Competitors

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MARATHON, Florida Keys — Two Florida runners won the overall men’s and women’s division titles during Saturday’s 36th annual Seven Mile Bridge Run across the Florida Keys Overseas Highway’s longest bridge.

mth03 Florida Keys Seven Mile Bridge Run Attracts 1,500 Competitors

In this aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a portion of the field of 1,500 runners compete in the Seven Mile Bridge Run over the longest of 42 bridges on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Saturday, April 1, 2017, near Marathon, Fla. The event was begun in 1982 to mark the completion of a federally funded program to build a then-new Seven Mile Bridge and three dozen other bridges that replaced spans built in the early 1900s. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

For his fourth consecutive year, Boca Raton resident Josh Peterson, 24, finished first among 1,500 participants in 40 minutes and 40 seconds.

Morgan Hull, 21, an engineering student from Gainesville, won the women’s division with a time of 42:59, her fourth bridge run endeavor. Hull placed second in 2016.

Jennifer Sober, 42, from Jupiter, Fla., posted a second-place time of 44:06. In her fifth consecutive contest, Laura DiBella, 38, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., completed the course in 45:05 for a third place finish.

Second-place winner in the men’s division was Fort Lauderdale’s Michael Stone, 37, who finished with a time of 40:55. Marathon High School senior Joel Zaila, 18, placed third with a time of 42:03.

Begun in 1982, the popular footrace over the convergence of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico marked the completion of a project to build 37 new Keys bridges to replace converted railroad bridges constructed in the early 1900s by Florida developer Henry Flagler.

Just getting a chance to compete is even more challenging than the race itself. The 1,500-runner field filled shortly after online registration went live.

It has become one of the most popular running events in the southeast U.S.

The event temporarily closed the span to vehicular traffic between the Middle and Lower Keys for just over two hours early Saturday morning.

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