November 29, 2023

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A Florida teenager and an Atlanta woman won the overall men’s and women’s divisions Saturday at a footrace across the longest of 42 highway bridges over water in the Florida Keys.

Vaclav “Vance” Bursa, 15, of Big Pine Key, Florida, finished first overall in the annual 7 Mile Bridge Run, posting a time of 41 minutes, 1 second and also claiming the top spot in the men’s division. Bursa, who placed third in the 2022 race, is a student at Marathon High School.

Joanna Stephens, 28, of Atlanta, completed the course in 41:12 to win the women’s division title and place second overall. Last year’s winner, Collin Wainwright, 27, of Springfield, Pennsylvania, and Joel Martinez, 31, of Cape Coral, Florida, finished in 41:33 and 41:45, respectively, to take second and third place in the men’s division.

Holly Smith, 38, from Key Largo, Florida, posted a women’s division second-place time of 42:10. Key West, Florida, resident Shelby Nowak, 28, placed third with a time of 46:51.

The race, capped at 1,500 runners each year, drew competitors from 41 U.S. states and other countries including Canada, the U.K. and Switzerland.

The run closed the span between the Middle and Lower Keys to vehicular traffic for three hours Saturday.

The April contest is one of the most popular running events in the southeastern United States, and the race field filled within minutes after online registration opens in January.


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