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Keys Rejects Ragnar Relay For Third Time

Tracy Ziegler
Ragnar relay runners take turns on the road and ride in vans the rest of the time. Monroe County officials said the transfers caused too many traffic tie-ups.

The Ragnar Relay will not return to the Overseas Highway in February.

This week, Monroe County commissioners rejected a permit request for the third time. Ragnar has now officially canceled the race.

Ragnar teams of up to 11 runners travel in vans, taking turns on the road. County officials said the frequent transfers caused too many traffic tie-ups along the only route along the Keys — especially during the height of tourist season.

Organizers had offered to end the transfers in the Middle Keys, with all runners riding to Key West for a final leg on the island. But that proposal failed by the same margin as the original versions, 4-1.

Organizers had collected entry fees from almost 6,000 runners. They've offered a full refund, or entry into other Ragnar races. The relays are held around the country; they're named in honor of a ninth century Scandinavian king. Race organizers said its entrants raised more than $100,000 annually for local charities, including Friends of Higgs Beach and Special Olympics Florida.

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.
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