By Alex Rickert and Sydney Schuhmacher

Not every runner wakes up before the sun and prepares for a seven-mile race across a bridge with no shade and a half-mile hill with a 65-foot vertical rise. But for the athletes brave enough to attempt the feat, that’s exactly what awaits them on the morning of Saturday, April 6 during the 38th annual Seven Mile Bridge Run.

Since 1982, the event has given a limited group of 1,500 runners the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views offered by the 7 Mile Bridge while it’s closed to vehicular traffic during this once-a-year treat. Some treat the race as a “fun run,” while the lead pack always ends in heated competition; 2018 overall winner Aydan Child of Marathon broke the finish line tape in a blistering 40:01 (5:54 per mile). There is, however, one catch: 65 minutes into the race, buses begin driving from the start line to the finish. Any runner the bus passes is required to get on board, so for many, the slogan is simply “Beat the Bus.”

Ahead of the 2019 race, we caught up with several of this year’s athletes to test their knowledge of the event’s history and find out about their unique pregame rituals. Spoiler alert: the bridge is 6.8 miles long, built by Henry Flagler, and the occasion of the first race was to celebrate the opening of the “new” bridge and raise funds for hometown student athletes. Honestly, we don’t know if anyone has ever been “accidentally” pushed off the bridge, but are willing to provide a cupcake in exchange for well-documented evidence.

Aydan was first across the finish line in 2018.

Name: Aydan Child

How many times have you run the 7 Mile Bridge Run? This will be my 9th time.

How long is the bridge? Not actually 7, it’s 6.8 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? Henry Flagler.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? To dedicate the new highway connecting the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys. Both my dad and aunt were there.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Birkenstocks.

Pre-race and post-race hydration? Water and Pedialyte before, and, you know, some ice cold “water” after the race.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Oriana Mendez and Hannah Ziels; actually, I’ve already seen them crying about it.

 

Calla has all the answers.

Name: Calla Jimenez

How many times have you run the 7 Mile Bridge Run? Since 3rd grade, so this will be my 7th year.

How long is the bridge? I know it’s not a full 7 miles … I want to say 6.9?

Which famous person built the bridge? Henry Flagler … but technically, he built the old bridge, not the new one.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? I wasn’t alive back then, so I have no idea.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Nikes (Her mom’s answer: she runs in whatever’s on sale.)

Pre-race and post-race hydration? Water!

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Probably my friend Elaysa.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? I would hope zero?

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? If I was fit, yeah. I can run, but I’m not super fit like that.

 

Chris, center, is flanked by supporters.

Name: Chris Todd Young

How many times have you done the 7 Mile Bridge Run? This is my second run. My first time was on my bucket list.

How long is the bridge? 6.8 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? I don’t know, a really good construction company.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? To see if it was possible.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Asics.

What is your pre-race and post-race hydration? My pre-race is Spark and my post-run is beer.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Kristen Livengood.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? As far as I know no, never.

How long do you abstain from sex before the race to conserve your energy? Six hours.

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? Hell no.

 

Christine, right, and Tricia, left, are running buddies.

Name: Christine Limbert-Barrows

How many times have you done the 7 Mile Bridge Run? I think this is my fourth time.

How long is the bridge? I know its technically less than 7 miles, I think it’s 6.8.

Which famous person built the bridge? Henry Flagler.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? I can imagine that it was some sort of fundraising.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Asics.

What is your pre-race and post-race hydration? I have water and pre-workout supplements to help me get through the race, and then afterwards I would say water and beer.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Tricia Eables.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? I would hope that nobody has been thrown over the side, but in understanding the competitiveness I would say, with the history, one or two have gone over.

How long do you abstain from sex before the race to conserve your energy? Definitely a few days, but preferably a week to make sure I’m strong enough to make it through.

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? No. I wouldn’t want to, they scare me a bit.

 

Danielle is a virgin.

Name: Danielle Frost

How many times have you done the 7 Mile Bridge Run? I’ve been doing the run for forever.

How long is the bridge? 6.8 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? Aw man, I’ve even been to the museum on Pigeon Key. I don’t remember.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? I don’t know.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Nike.

What is your pre-race and post-race hydration? Water and Michelob Ultra.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Kristen Livengood.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? Oh man. I think my friends and I jumped into the water at the end.

How long do you abstain from sex before the race to conserve your energy? Oh my God, my parents are going to read this paper. I’m a virgin.

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? For sure.

 

Jaclyn believes the best in everybody.

Name: Jaclyn Flatt

How many times have you done the 7 Mile Bridge Run? This is my first time.

How long is the bridge? 6.8 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? Am I allowed to Google this right now? I don’t even have a guess.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? Wasn’t it for a fundraiser?

Nike or Asics or Crocs? Brooks.

What is your pre-race and post-race hydration? I do GU before the race. Water is my post-race drink.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? None of my friends, they’re all rock stars.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? What?!?! Is this true? Hopefully nobody!

How long do you abstain from sex before the race to conserve your energy? Wait, did you say sex? *laughter* Oh my god. Who makes up these questions? I don’t know how to answer that.

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? Definitely.

 

Morgan would consider taking on a crossfitter.

Name: Morgan Walker

How many times have you run the 7 Mile Bridge Run? This will be my 2nd time.

How long is the bridge? Just shy of 7 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? Henry Flagler built the original bridge, I’m not sure about the “new” bridge.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? It was a community fundraiser.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? I prefer Brooks, but Nikes are a close second.

Pre-race and post-race hydration? Water and Gatorade.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? No idea.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? Zero.

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? Maybe … it all depends on what the challenge is.

 

Rita Irwin, gets really emotional.

Name: Rita Irwin

How long is the bridge? 6.78 miles.

Which famous person built the bridge? Henry Flagler.

What was the reason for the first 7 Mile Bridge Run? To celebrate the opening of the new bridge.

Nike or Asics or Crocs? None of the above, Brooks.

Pre-race and post-race hydration? Pre: water. Post: Bellini.

Which of your friends is most likely to sob before, during or after the race? Me.

How many times during the run has somebody been pushed off the bridge “by accident”? Nobody yet!

Do you think you could “take” a crossfitter? You bet! ‘Cause I am one!

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