The Seven Mile Bridge Run in the Florida Keys is back after being cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The race is set for Saturday morning with protocols in place to mitigate potential COVID-19 transmission, officials said. Monroe County deputies will halt traffic in both directions for three hours along the the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest span of 42 bridges that run over water in the Keys.
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.
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 the construction 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.
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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.