Runners and walkers race over Jewfish Creek Bridge for the 11th annual First State Bank Key Largo Bridge Run. DAVID GROSS/Keys Weekly

More than 300 runners took to the starting line as the sun began to rise in the Florida Keys for the 11th First State Bank Key Largo Bridge Run Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk on Nov. 14. Participants set out from the road leading to Gilbert’s Resort, running and strolling onto Jewfish Creek Bridge overlooking the Key Largo Bay before returning back to Gilbert’s. Placing first in the half marathon was Kervin Batista, 32, with a time of one hour and 27 minutes. Coral Shores High School’s cross country and track star, Simon Gutierrez, 17, crossed the finish line first in the 5K with a time of 18 minutes. The overall female winner in the 5K was Carolina Jaramillo, 36, of Miami, with a time of 23 minutes and eight seconds. Tavernier’s Kai Guth, 15, placed second with a time of 23 minutes and 29 seconds. Third place went to Sheena Jacobson, 37, of Key Largo, with a time of 23 minutes and 43 seconds. Full results can be found at

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).