Home Health 1500 Runners Competed In Keys Seven Mile Bridge Race (Video)

1500 Runners Competed In Keys Seven Mile Bridge Race (Video)

A portion of the field of 1,500 competitors runs by Pigeon Key at the Seven Mile Bridge Run in the Florida Keys, Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Seven Mile Bridge Run. The race was initiated in 1982 to mark the completion of a federally funded program to build a new Seven Mile Bridge and 36 other spans for the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

MARATHON, Florida Keys — South Florida resident Josh Peterson claimed his third consecutive overall men’s title during Saturday’s 35th annual Seven Mile Bridge Run across the Florida Keys Overseas Highway’s longest bridge.

Peterson, 23, of Boca Raton finished first among 1,500 participants in 38 minutes and 57 seconds.

Laura DiBella, 37, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., completed the course in 43:00, also her third consecutive overall women’s division title.

Michael Stone, 36, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finished second in the men’s division with a time of 39:27. High school student Ryan Vanorman, 16, of Rockford, Mich., placed third at 39:38.

In her third bridge run endeavor, Morgan Hull, 20, an engineering student in Gainesville, Fla., placed second in the women’s division at 43:19. Race veteran Helena Bursa, 40, of Big Pine Key, Fla., placed third with her personal best time on the course of 43:51.

Begun in 1982, the now notable 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.

The run closed the span between the Middle and Lower Keys for just over two hours Saturday morning, but race organizers and Keys officials publicized the event well in advance to minimize traffic problems, according to Lt. Derek Paul of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Just getting a chance to compete is challenging. The April contest has become one of the most popular running events in the southeastern United States, and the 1,500-runner field filled within about 20 minutes after online registration went live in February.

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