MARATHON (CBSMiami) – Headed to the lower Florida Keys this weekend? Don’t go early Saturday. The Seven Mile Bridge Run will be shutdown for the annual bridge run which was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bridge, which is the longest of the 43 bridges that help comprise the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, will close to traffic at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. The closure will last for three hours.

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There are protocols in place to mitigate potential COVID-19 transmission, officials said.

Registration was only opened to the 1,500 runners who had signed up for the cancelled 2020 competition, race director Ginger Sayer said. About 1,000 entrants have registered.

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A change from most years, runners will start at the bridge’s west end and head east toward Marathon. That direction was last run in 1982, when the first bridge race was staged to celebrate completion of the then-new Seven Mile Bridge and 36 other spans fabricated in a $185 million bridge-building program funded by the federal government.

Runners will begin in socially distanced groups of 10 and be required to wear masks before and after the race, Sayer said. Each participant will have a small, electronic chip embedded in the race number placard that will be read by a computer sensor at the start and finish lines to determine times.

There will not be a traditional post-race awards party.

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Because of staggered starts, it will take several days for officials to determine overall and divisional winners.

CBSMiami.com Team