Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 17. That’s the day of the 40th annual 7 Mile Bridge Run. Two important notes on that: that portion of U.S.1 will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 to 9 a.m. And, for only the second time in its 40-year history, the race will be run from west to east.
Only those who were registered for the postponed 2020 race were eligible for this year’s registration and race officials are expecting about 1,000 runners. Limited parking will be available at Knights Key, beginning at 4:30 a.m., and runners will then be bused to the start line on the west side of the bridge in buses filled to half capacity.
Runners coming from the Lower Keys may be dropped off at the turn lane into Veteran’s Park, located on the oceanside of the west end of the bridge. There is no parking or spectator viewing area available on either side of the bridge.
Runners enjoying stays at Isla Bella, Faro Blanco, Marriott Blue Waters, and Tranquility Bay are encouraged to walk to the parking area on Knights Key where buses will be waiting to take them to the start line. The last bus to leave Knights Key for the start line will be sent at 5:45 a.m.
Racers begin running the span at 6:45 a.m. at the west end of the bridge in waves of 10 socially-distanced masked runners and have roughly 80 minutes to cross the bridge before straggler buses pick up any who may not be finishing within the allotted time. The 7 Mile Bridge will reopen promptly at 9 a.m.
Packet/bib/shirt pickup is on Friday, April 16, at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club from noon to 8 p.m. Pickup will be done by drive-through and runners will be asked to wear masks, practice social distancing, and stay in their vehicles.
The proceeds of the event benefit Middle Keys youth at the Marathon schools with an emphasis on athletics and well-care.