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Ragnar Relay Runs Into Roadblock In The Keys

Tracy Ziegler
Ragnar Relay runners take turns running along the Overseas Highway in the Keys. Each team has eight to 10 runners and two vans.

  Every year, the Ragnar Relay brings 500 teams of runners to the Keys. Each team has eight to 10 members; they run three to five miles, then ride in a van while their teammates are on the road.

Next year's event, the only one in Florida, has been sold out for months. But last week, the Monroe County Commission denied a permit for the event in a 4-1 vote. Commissioners say it causes too many traffic tie-ups on the Overseas Highway, the only route through the island chain.

Ragnar organizers were caught by surprise.

"Ragner received verbal approval in March, prior to opening registration and has actively been working with local officials throughout the permitting process as we have done for years," according to a statement from Elise Timothy, marketing manager for the Utah-based organization.

Timothy said Ragnar organizers were scheduling in-person meetings in the Keys next week and are hoping to be on the County Commission's November agenda to reconsider the permit.