KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Runners and walkers of all ages can compete in a scenic bridge race Saturday, Dec. 2, above the Upper Florida Keys and the southeastern edges of the Florida Everglades. The annual First State Bank Key Largo Bridge Run offers stunning land and water vistas and a physical challenge in the Keys’ typically balmy December conditions.
The timed 5k run/walk is to start at Gilberts Resort Drive just off the Jewfish Creek Bridge at mile marker 107.9. Runners and walkers travel back and forth across the 65-foot-high bridge — considered the entryway to the Florida Keys — that is part of the Overseas Highway connecting mainland South Florida to Key Largo.
Participants can pick up race packets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at Key Largo’s First State Bank, mile marker 97. Packets will also be available at the starting line beginning at 6 a.m. the morning of the race.
The race is to start at 7:30 a.m. for both runners and walkers.
The popular course is flat and fast at the beginning and end, with a challenging bridge climb in between.
Many racers are attracted by the panoramic views of Lake Surprise, Blackwater Sound and the expanse of the eastern Everglades and Upper Keys that are visible from the course.
Registration is $60 per adult runner, increasing to $65 for late registration Friday or Saturday morning, and $40 per person for runners age 17 and under.
A Key Largo Bridge Run participant pre-party is set for 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at The Catch restaurant, mile marker 102 oceanside. Entrants are encouraged to attend to meet other runners and walkers, and to get the latest event information from organizers.
Parking and shuttle service is to be available on race day for participants, spectators and volunteers at Key Largo School, mile marker 104 oceanside.
Pre-race shuttles are slated to depart from the school between 6 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., and run from the finish line back to the school between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
Awards are to be presented to the top three male and female overall finishers, masters male and female finishers, and top three finishers in different age groups. Each participant earns a medal on completion.
Sunday, Dec. 3, racers can each receive a free mimosa (with proof of participation) during brunch from 8 a.m. to noon at Key Largo Conch House, mile marker 100 oceanside in Key Largo.
Online race registration is open and the first 500 registrants are to receive a commemorative T-shirt.
Event information and registration: keylargobridgerun.com
Runners find inspiration in panoramic vistas of the Florida Keys and Everglades as they cross the 65-foot-high Jewfish Creek Bridge, one of the most spectacular 5k courses in the country. Photo: Andy Newman
The popular course is flat and fast at both the beginning and end, with one big challenging bridge in between. Photo: Andy Newman