Three generations will take on the Seven Mile Bridge Run as Paul Todd, left, Caidyn Young and Chris Todd Young plan to run the race together. CONTRIBUTED

For some, the Seven Mile Bridge run is a competitive dogfight at the front of the lead pack. For others, it’s an opportunity to take a pretty sweet selfie at the top of “the hump,” or perhaps just “beat the bus.”

For the Young family, the 2023 bridge run will check off one more item on a multigenerational bucket list.

The first time Chris Todd Young, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys, ran a race with her dad, she had barely cracked double digits. Just 10 years old, she entered the 1980 Sarasota Herald Tribune 10K in the 13 & Under division, finishing the race in just over 64 minutes as her father Paul Todd crossed the line just 30 seconds behind her.

Though it would take another 36 years before the pair toed the same start line again, their next race had a third generation in tow, as Young’s daughter Caidyn joined the father-daughter duo at the 2016 Duck Key Turkey Trot.

With barely a month to go until his 80th birthday, Todd will make the journey down from Nokomis, Florida to once again lace them up with his daughter and granddaughter. According to him, racing with his family in his first tangle with the bridge is a prime “bucket list” opportunity.

“We’re making (Caidyn) do it with us, which is funny because she’s not a runner,” Young told the Weekly with a laugh. “I told her, ‘We’ve gotta get to the top of the hump, and we’ve gotta get a picture with dad. Then you can fall out.”

Though the full field for the 2023 race has yet to be revealed, if Todd ran in last year’s race, he would finish in a tie as the second-oldest participant. Even still, Young doubts the buses will catch her father, who still runs at least two days per week.

“He’s definitely going to beat the bus,” she said. “And he’s gonna beat me, unfortunately.”

When asked why he chose such a sweaty endeavor as his 80th birthday present, Todd’s answer is one that should resonate with most who’ve braved the bridge.

“I just wanted to see if I could do it.”


Please be advised that the Seven Mile Bridge will close from about 6 to 9 a.m. for the 2023 Seven Mile Bridge Run. Motorists should plan to be on their destination’s side of the bridge before 6 a.m. to avoid delays. For more race information, including packet pickup, shuttle times and parking info for runners, visit 7mbrun.com.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.