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Runners Lace Up For Seven Mile Bridge Run

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/FKNB) --  Runners laced up for the annual Seven Mile Bridge run in the Florida Keys on Saturday.

For a second consecutive year, two Florida residents garnered top honors in overall men and women's divisions.

Josh Peterson of Boca Raton won the overall men's title during the run. The 22-year-old ran the course over the convergence of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in 39 minutes and 18 seconds, the fastest of the field of 1,500 entrants.

Laura DiBella, 36, of Amelia Island completed the course in 42:55, for her second consecutive win in women's.

Jupiter, Fla., resident John Reback, 44, finished second in men's with a time of 39:43. Placing third with a time of 40:33 was Mike Stone, 35, of Boca Raton. Stone finished second last year.

Seven Mile Bridge Race 2015
Competitors in the Seven Mile Bridge Run run are escorted by a marine law enforcement vessel Saturday, April 18, 2015, near Marathon, Fla., in the Florida Keys. The footrace across the longest of 42 bridges over water that help comprise the Florida Keys Overseas Highway was initiated in 1982. The event attracted 1,500 registered participants and closed the bridge to early Saturday morning traffic for about two hours. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

For the third consecutive year, Helena Bursa, 39, of Big Pine Key, Fla., placed second in the women's division with a time of 45:34. Key West, Fla., resident Nicole Matysik, at just age 14 completed her fourth bridge race with a time of 46:57, to place third.

The footrace was initiated in 1982 to herald the completion of a project that then built 37 new Keys bridges to replace converted railroad bridges built in the early 1900s by Florida developer Henry Flagler.

The annual April contest is one of the nation's most popular running events. Just getting a chance to compete is challenging. This year's field filled in less than a half-hour after online registration opened in mid-February.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)

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