When 1,500 runners take off on Saturday, April 14, to run across the 7 Mile Bridge, they may create highlights to rival these.

Engagement

In 2013, Jeremy Shinn dropped to one knee on the hump of the 7 Mile Bridge mid-run to propose to his now wife Amy. Amy was caught totally off guard, even though Shinn, a little faster than her, didn’t leave her in his dust. Shinn, who graduated from Marathon High School in 1998, was just worried he would lose the ring out of his pocket before the hump. The two were married later that year at Sunset Park on Key Colony Beach and on their second wedding anniversary their son Evan was born. Due to injuries, the couple won’t be on the bridge this year, but have fond memories for the run.

Beer chugging

The year was 2010, or was it 2007? The details are a little foggy. Less than two miles in, the hump of the bridge is home to many running selfies in April, but it was a lot of Jager at a Christmas party at The Hurricane that sealed two runners’ fate. “The hardest part was running that far with a beer in my pocket,” said Todd Spano, who bet buddy Neil Cataldo he could beat the bus.

“At that point, drinking the beer was more about survival than the bet,” said Cataldo, whose only bridge training took place at The Brass Monkey. Spano implies that Cataldo may not have drunk his beer. “I finished a few minutes before him, which therefore means I won the bet,”said Cataldo, deflecting the allegations and claiming he sipped the beer over a couple miles rather than chugging.

Neither Spano nor Cataldo has run the bridge since. “We can’t ever top that.” Neither has paid up on the $50, $100, or beer tab that might had been up for grabs.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The accounts are all about the same: disappointment. In 2012, the race was canceled due to rain and lightning – the only cancellation in 36 years. Some didn’t even get out of bed that morning, while others “waited anxiously while we were being pelted by rain,” according to one person’s account. Another was just mad because her very fast friend was five months pregnant that year; “this was my only chance in life that I could have maybe beat her.” The result? Everyone ended up drinking (except the pregnant lady) at Sunset Grille, which amounted to an overall success.

The dude in the firefighter gear

Some wear tutus, or cute socks, or funny shirts, but it’s the guy who runs in full firefighter garb carrying an American flag who leaves everyone in awe. Although The Weekly couldn’t track down the name of the guy, who has been seen in several races during the past few years, he is probably the most talked about runner on the bridge. Heard from inside the bus: “don’t even think about picking that guy up, he’s already 6.5 miles in!” Each year, he finishes the bridge and we are just glad we don’t have to wash his bunker gear.

The young and the not so young

6 and 84. That’s the ages of the youngest and oldest to finish the bridge without being picked up by the bus. Dave Wilson, who was 84, of Lake Worth holds a time of 1:22:51 and Cullen Sayer-Coleman, who was 6 at the time, beat his brother Fisher’s age, by mere months making him the youngest. We also should throw a big high-five to Roger Fisher of Key Colony Beach, who, at 79, finished the bridge last year in under an hour – he’s running again this year. There are three 79-year-old women competing April 14, along with an 81-year-old man. Just remember that while you are sitting on your couch…

The “big yellow school bus” in the room

“It’s really not that bad,” said one runner, who wishes to remain anonymous. “There’s AC, you get a sweet window seat, and you still get a medal.” Out of the 1,500 registered runners, an average of 150 to 200 runners don’t actually cross the finish line via foot; they cross it via school bus. Note to all runners: if you see Kristen Livengood, make sure you are in front of her – she’s come in dead last to cross the line via foot twice, seconds away from the 1:30:00 cut off time. Last years’ time: 1:29:54. If you are pushing the limit and are asked by a polite police officer to get on the bus, just do it, or they will take your number and you will never be able to run again…we’ve seen it happen.

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Jive Walkin’: Cow Key Channel Bridge Run

Feel like running across a bridge in the Florida Keys without waking up early or breaking a sweat? Join the fourth annual Cow Key Channel Bridge Run on Sunday, April 15. It is the only Zero K Bridge Run ever. The event is free, but T-shirts and number bibs are available online at cowkeybridgerun.com; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Monroe County Sheriff’s Animal Farm. The theme this year is “icows of rock.” (Check out the merch including the “discow inferno” tank tops. Travolta would be jealous.)

The bridge is about 300 feet long. Runners will gather near the Overseas Heritage Trail on the Key West side and finish on the Stock Island side. A water station will be located mid-bridge (ahem), and volunteers and signs will let participants know that cars drive on roads and that if they walk in front of moving cars it will hurt really bad. (Seriously, participants must stay on the trail.)

Free parking is available at the main garage of the Marriott Beachside. Participants are encouraged to buy a beverage or snack at the resort, to continue this friendly partnership. The racers are invited to “graze” beginning at 10 a.m. on the bay side of the Key West end of the bridge. The race has five heats starting with the fastest runners, followed by pets with humans, relay teams, the “stampede” main event, and finishing with the slowest walkers who must maintain forward motion to keep from being disqualified.

The Cow Key Channel Bridge Run started as a joke four years ago. We are still laughing. This is serious fun.

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Scale the Whale

Lace up those worn Nikes: Chi Sigma sorority is hosting the first ever Whale Harbor/Wahoos Bridge Run on Saturday, April 14. Starting at 9 a.m., racers will trek across the tiny iconic bridge at Whale Harbor in Islamorada, all while raising money for a good cause.

All the proceeds from the run will go into scholarships the sorority awards to the graduating senior class. The first $1,000 raised will go to a newly created scholarship in honor of Coral Shores High School graduate Holly Given. Given’s parents, Pat and Lucy, are the official race starters for the run.

The course is a puny .66 miles, starting on the south end of the bridge at MM 84. The sorority created the run as a fun spoof of similar bridge styled runs in the Keys. They fall on the same day; the difference? *ahem* … about six or so miles. Oh, and doughnuts. The north end of the bridge will have a doughnut tent strategically placed in case runners need to fuel up. A bloody Mary and mimosa cash bar will also be set up.

The race has two age divisions of runners, 21 and up, and 21 and under. Each will have first, second, and third place winners. All racers receive a gift package upon signing up for the race that includes lunch at Whale Harbor Seafood Buffet. Winners have a shot at taking home a mix of prizes that include fresh new Costa Del Mar sunglasses and a complimentary membership to I Am Crossfit.

Race registration is $20 for kids and $25 for adults. Visit Chi Sigma sorority’s Facebook page for race info and updates or call 305-522-0385.

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