Runners from around the U.S. and other countries can challenge their best times amid spectacular scenery during the fifth annual Key Largo Bridge Run set for Saturday, Nov. 9. The route includes a panoramic span above the Upper Keys and the eastern edges of the Florida Everglades.
Several hundred running enthusiasts of all ages typically register for the unique out-and-back 10k, half marathon and 5k run/walk event. Past participants have included runners from the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany and England.
According to race organizers, sports correspondent Andy Richardson of the Al Jazeera America news channel is expected to run the Key Largo half marathon. As well as gathering content for a distance-running documentary, he plans to make the race his final training run to reach his goal of competing in a formidable Antarctic-based marathon later in November.
Prize money is to be awarded the top six finishers in the male and female divisions of all three events, as well as in the 12 and under age category. Each runner receives a medal upon completion.
The USA Track & Fieldcertified course crosses the 65-foot-high, 1.25-mile-long Jewfish Creek Bridge and racers occupy the northbound lanes of the bridge and the southern portion of the 18-Mile Stretch, a section of the Overseas Highway that connects mainland South Florida with Key Largo.
The Key Largo Bridge Run is held in conjunction with a free-admission Health and Fitness Expo featuring a variety of vendors and health screenings. The expo is set for noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at the Key Largo Holiday Inn at mile marker (MM) 100.
From noon to 9 p.m., runners can pick up race packets. In an effort to "go green," organizers are providing virtual race bags that include unique value-added offers, exclusive discounts and educational information. The virtual goody bags are to be delivered to each participant's email inbox within two weeks of the race.
A traditional Friday night spaghetti dinner is to be hosted by DiGiorgio's Café Largo, MM 100 bayside, between 4:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Expo.
Race entry fees are $35 per person for the 5k, $50 per person for the 10k and $70 for the half-marathon through Nov. 4, with a $5 discount for runners whose registrations are received on or before Oct.14. Participants age 17 and under pay $12. Online registration is available, and closes Nov. 5 at 8 a.m. The first 1,000 race registrants receive a free T-shirt.
Specially priced Key Largo accommodations are available for the weekend event. Event proceeds benefit Keys charities.
Event information: www.keylargobridgerun.com
Key Largo visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
Social: facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywest · twitter.com/thefloridakeys · youtube.com/FloridaKeysTV