KEYS100

1. Can I run my individual race without a support crew?

Absolutely.  Aid stations and water stops provide very good support for the un-crewed runner. Strategically placed signs direct the runner along the course.  Un-crewed runners may leave personal drop bags at as many as five locations.  However, the longer the distance, the more helpful it is to have your own support crew.  Most 50 kilometer runners do not have their own crew.  The 50-milers are pretty well split.  The majority of 100 mile runners, although certainly not all, have their own crew.   Runners who do not have prior experience running 50-mile or 100-mile ultramarathon races in high heat conditions are strongly encouraged to have their own crew.

Aid stations at approximate ten mile intervals, plus Mile Markers 73.9 and 25—a total of eleven--will be fully stocked with runner food, water, sport drinks, soft drinks, ice, electrolyte replacement product and more.  In addition to the full aid stations, water and ice will be available at ten un-staffed stations, located at approximate five mile intervals where there is not a full aid station.

 

2. What’s the story with drop bags?

Runners may prefer their own food, sports drinks, etc., and want access to night gear, change of socks, shoes, etc.  Un-crewed runners may place drop bags along the route at any or all of the following aid stations at the runner's option: Mile Markers 80, 60, 50, 40 and 20 for the 100 mile race, MM 40 and 20 for the 50 mile race and at MM20 for the 50 kilometer race. 
DO NOT USE GROCERY-TYPE PLASTIC BAGS.  USE SUBSTANTIAL CLOTH OR VINYL BAGS AND MARK THEM CLEARLY WITH RACE NUMBER, NAME AND CHECKPOINT MILE MARKER.
On Friday evening in Key Largo during pre-race check-in, or on Saturday morning at race start, runners may place drop bags into specially designated containers.  50-mile runners may do the same on race morning in Marathon.  50-kilometer runners may do so at pre-race check-in in Big Pine Key.  Race staff will transport bags to the aid stations. 
Be mindful: Mile Markers count DOWN from MM100 at the race start all the way into Key West.  For example, in the 100 mile race, after running the first 20 miles, runners will be at Mile Marker 80.  After running 40 miles, runners will be at MM60, and so on; drop bags must be labelled accordingly.  Note that the race organization, officials and volunteers will do their best to safeguard these items and care for them properly, but cannot guaranty their return or condition.  Wet weather could also be a factor during the race, so pack accordingly.  Retrieve drop bags at the finish line before leaving the race. Remaining bags will be donated to a homeless shelter or trashed.

What to expect at a drop bag location:

1. Bags will be delivered to each aid station indicated.

2. Aid station volunteers will empty transport containers of all drop bags and spread them on a tarp.

3. Volunteers will hand you your bag, but ask for it if they don’t.

4. A designated "used bag" container will be there when you are finished with yours.  Place your “used” bag in that container, or ask a volunteer to help.  These will be picked-up from time to time during the race and forwarded to Key West so that drop bags may be retrieved at the finish line.

Strong recommendation: whether or not you access your drop bag at a given aid station, take a moment to locate your bag and place it in the "used bag" container. This will increase the likelihood of your goods being at the finish line when you arrive. This is the runner's responsibility. Any drop bags not placed in the "used bag" container will necessarily remain at the aid station until it has closed, with delivery of remaining drop bags to the finish line when possible.

AFTER THE RACE: IT WILL BE SOLELY THE RUNNER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO RETRIEVE DROP BAGS AND LUGGAGE AT THE FINISH LINE OR TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO HAVE THAT DONE.  ANY DROP BAGS REMAINING AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE RACE ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON WILL BE DISCARDED.

Personal luggage: For un-crewed runners if interested, personal luggage will be collected at the race check-in sites in Key Largo and Marathon and Big Pine Key on Saturday for transport to Key West, and will be available for pick-up at the finish line after the race.

 

3. What’s the best team race strategy?

Team members do not have to run the same number of miles nor the same number of legs.  The team decides its own strategy and can even make changes on the fly.  Over the years, most teams have found that their finishing times are better, and recovery is faster if each teammate runs multiple short legs vs. two or three long ones.  So, most teams will use each of the permitted exchange locations to change runners, and will decide in advance which mate will run the longest legs—like Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda Bridge.

Teams may include fewer than six (6) runners, but no more than six. Teams may be all male, all female or co-ed at the team's discretion.  Each relay team will be self-supporting during the race; food and drinks at the aid stations are for the individual runners.  Well before race day, meeting in person (or on conference call,) a few times will allow people on the team to get to know each other, help to set proper expectations, decide on responsibilities including vehicle drivers, hotel selection, arranging for a vehicle, buying pooled items like water, ice, etc., running leg assignments and more.

 

4. Why are there so many rules about the course and traffic?

Because there is only one road in and out of the Keys, and if we create traffic problems we will not be invited back.  Our invitation to race is not a right; by being conscientious and responsible guests we earn the privilege to race in this beautiful place one more time.

KEYS100 follows US Highway #1, known in the Florida Keys as "Overseas Highway", for nearly 100 miles, from Key Largo until approximately the last four miles in Key West, where the course turns left onto South Roosevelt Blvd. and follows the wide ocean sidewalk along the Atlantic Ocean shore to the finish line at Higgs Beach.  Approximately 75% of the race is run on portions of the "Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail"--bike trails, sidewalks, side roads, service lanes and pedestrian bridges--with the balance FACING TRAFFIC on the US#1 road shoulder.  So, it is not specifically the runners, themselves, who are the subject of many of these rules, but the vehicles that runners use to support themselves as teams or individuals.  Pulling off the road and entering it, driving and maintaining an appropriate speed, signaling intent, parking safely in an approved location, NOT parking where we haven’t been invited and general courtesy to others on the road are most important and most often abused.  Protecting the safety of runners and other race participants as well as other drivers, pedestrians and people on bikes, not disrupting commerce nor the local resident’s Saturday shopping trip or visitor’s scenic drive—these things are our responsibility and the reason for our strict course, vehicle and traffic rules.

And, the safety of our runners: In many locations where we must run on the road shoulder, it is narrow and, therefore, potentially dangerous. That is especially true on some of the bridges that connect island to island.  Overseas Highway is a heavily traveled road.  It is a mix of two and four-lane highway, with lower speed limits through towns and heavily settled areas, but higher speeds elsewhere.   As you will be frequently reminded, when running on the road shoulder, racers and pacers MUST run on the ocean side facing traffic. This is also the reason why wearing appropriately visible night gear is an absolute must.

 

5. Are there bathrooms and stores along the race route?

Yes.  And race-installed portable toilets are located at many aid stations, with more being added in 2017.  US#1 includes commercial facilities like gas stations, convenience stores and the like at many points along its length, but there are long stretches where there is no commercial development.  In the Lower Keys—i.e., below Marathon—where the population is more sparse, very few facilities stay open all night.  For bathrooms, if using business facilities, show support by buying something if at all possible.  Below Seven Mile Bridge, bathrooms or portable toilets are available at roughly five mile intervals, or closer.  The lists of “Team Runner Exchange Locations” and “Individual Crew Support Locations” include many of these bathroom options; these lists will be further updated for 2017. Note: Public bathrooms with outside showers are available at the finish line on Higgs Beach.

 

6. What are the cut-off times for my race?

A. Total time allowed to complete the race

100 mile individual and team races: 32 hours to complete the course beginning at the time the runner crosses the timing mat at the race start.

50 mile race: 20 hours to complete the course beginning at the time the runner crosses the timing mat at the race start.

50 kilometer race: 12 hours to complete the course beginning at the time the runner crosses the timing mat at the race start.

B. Interim cut-offs.  Runners and teams in the 100-mile races ONLY must check-in and check-out of all required aid stations before each location’s cut-off time:

100 Mile Individual Race Aid Station Cut-Off Times:

10 mile Check-in at MM90, Coral Shores High School; cut-off at 9:45am

20 mile Check-in at MM80.5, just past Midway Cafe in Islamorada; cut-off at 12:45pm

25 mile Check-in at MM73.9, at Boy Scouts of America Sea Base; cut-off at 2:30pm               

30 mile Check-in at MM68.1, at Kwik Stop store in Layton; cut-off at 4:45pm

40 mile Check-in at MM59.3, at Otherside Board Sports; cut-off at 7:45pm

50 mile Check-in at MM50.0, at Marathon Garden Club; cut-off at 10:45pm           

60 mile Check-in at MM39.9, west end of Seven Mile Bridge before  Veterans Park; cut-off at 1:45am

70 mile Check-in at MM30.8, on vacant lot before the “Tom Thumb” in Big Pine Key; cut-off at 4:45am

75 mile Check-in at MM24.9, at Dion's Mobile on Summerland Key; cut-off at 6:30am

80 mile Check-in at MM19.8, across from Mangrove Mama's restaurant; cut-off at 8:45am

90 mile Check-in at MM10.8, at Circle K Shell station on Big Coppitt Key; cut-off at 11:45am

Finish Line at Higgs Beach. Cut-off no later than 2:45pm on Sunday, adjusted for your starting time

Failure to make any of these cut-offs (check-in and check-out of these aid stations) will be considered "DNF"—"Did Not Finish".

100 Mile Team Relay Check-In Locations Cut-Off Times:

25 mile Check-in at MM73.9, at Boy Scouts of America Sea Base; cut-off at 2:30pm

50 mile Check-in at MM50.0, at Marathon Garden Club; cut-off at 10:45pm

75 mile Check-in at MM24.9, at Dion's Mobile on Summerland Key; cut-off at 6:30am

Finish Line at Higgs Beach. Cut-off no later than 2:45pm on Sunday, adjusted for starting time

Failure to make any of these cut-offs (check-in and check-out of these aid stations) will be considered "DNF"—"Did Not Finish".

 

7. Is there any medical support along the route?

Medical staff will be stationed at some locations on the course and at the finish line to assist runners when possible.  Phone numbers will be provided.  Unless otherwise noted in pre-race instructions, emergency “911” service in the Keys should be used if race medical support is not immediately available or in emergency situations. 

Race medical personnel may prevent a runner from continuing the race if, in their judgment, the runner's condition justifies it.  Runners who receive medical help MAY continue the race, but only if given the okay by the assisting medical personnel. Runners receiving an IV for any reason may NOT continue the race. 

All medical, hospital or emergency evacuation costs for participants and crew members will be borne by that person or his/her heirs.  The race organizers are in no way liable or responsible for medical costs or emergency evacuation.  Please refer to "Accident Waiver and Release of Liability" form for related details.

 

8. Is the hot weather really a significant factor?

Yes, it is!  Racing KEYS100 should not be undertaken lightly — at any distance.  In 2016, only 55% of individual 100-mile runners completed the race, almost entirely as a result of heat-related factors.  Sunny, hot and humid is the likely scenario in mid-late May in the sub-tropical Florida Keys.  Generally speaking, the combination of temperature, humidity and intensity of the sun will be at least as challenging a factor as the distance. The vast majority of those who do not finish the race site heat-related reasons. Temperatures are likely to reach the high 80's or low 90's with high humidity.  Sudden rain squalls are always possible in the Keys, and these are frequently accompanied by gusty winds.  Fortunately, most are of short duration.  Runners should seek shelter during heavy rain showers to wait them out, especially if accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Minimizing the impact of the heat is an ongoing challenge.  In addition to adequate fluid and salt/mineral intake, use ice in hats and bandanas or soak head coverings in water liberally to keep cool. Begin doing these things before becoming overheated.  Again, the primary reasons for not completing KEYS100 are overwhelmingly heat related. Train and plan your race accordingly.

 

9. Is transportation available back to the race starting point?

The race does NOT provide transportation back to Big Pine Key, Marathon or Key Largo.  With rare exception, runners should be able to arrange a ride back with another runner or team heading north.  (Offering to pay for gas helps!)  Use the race Facebook page to make advance arrangements or connect at pre-race check-in or at the finish line.  A reasonable back-up plan is to use inexpensive public bus transport from Key West.  Additional information about transportation to and from the Keys may be found at “Hotels & Transportation”, under “Nice to Know”.
OPTION FOR 50 MILE & 50 KILOMETER RUNNERS: PARK YOUR CAR AT THE HIGGS BEACH FINISH LINE IN KEY WEST AND TAKE THE FREE RACE SHUTTLE TO THE START OF YOUR RACE IN MARATHON OR BIG PINE KEY, RESPECTIVELY. Reserve your seat (required) by sending an email request no later than April 30 to: Meleah.Spencer@gmail.com

 

10. What happens if I must drop out before the finish line?

If you have a support crew, stop at the closest aid station and let staff know you are dropping from the race.  Please leave your timing chip with them.

If you do not have a support crew, attempt to get to an aid station.  If unable, call or wait for a race marshal or medical staff to get you there, or "hitch" a ride with another runner or team.  If you are having a medical emergency, call 911--or ask someone to do it for you--and be sure that race staff is told of your circumstances and whereabouts.  If you are not having a medical emergency, race staff will, as time and schedules permit, drive you toward the finish line.  Getting you there may require one or more hand-offs. Be patient.  We will do the best we can to help you.  Note that race staff may be unable to simply drop everything to drive you to Key West immediately.  They may also be heading in the opposite direction.  But, you will be driven there as soon as practicable. 

If you have hotel reservations in Key West, be aware that check-in for most properties is 4:00pm and flexibility is not generally one of their strong suits.  Consider this carefully when booking your reserved date(s).  Many runners have had to spend up to double-digit hours waiting under the finish line tent for their room to be ready.  Also note: Uber does not operate in the Keys.  Taxi or public bus are the primary means of transportation along US#1 as well as in Key West.

11. Must I pick-up my race packet and attend the pre-race meeting?

Each individual racer must pick-up his/her race packet, including race number, shirt, vehicle signs, timing chip, crew support location list, staff roster and more, and attend the orientation meeting as a pre-requisite to participation in the race. 

Team members may pick-up their own individual race packets or a team representative may gather them all.  Due to space restrictions, only ONE team representative must attend the team orientation meeting.  That representative will be expected to convey the contents of that meeting to the rest of the team.

Packet pick-up and meeting schedule:

100 mile races—on Friday, between the hours of 4:00pm and 8:00pm, at the Key Largo Holiday Inn.  Orientation for all individual 100-milers will begin at 5:00pm.  At 6:00pm, a mandatory meeting for all team captains or team representatives will begin.  A make-up session for both groups will be held at 7:00pm for those unable to make the earlier meetings.  ANY INDIVIDUAL RUNNER OR TEAM NOT PARTICIPATING IN ONE OF THESE SESSIONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO COMPETE ON RACE DAY.

50 mile race—on race morning, Saturday, between 8:00am and 9:00am, packet pick-up will be open at the 50-mile race starting point at the Marathon Garden Club located at MM50, Bay side, just beyond the traffic light at Sombrero Beach Road.  A mandatory briefing for all 50-mile racers will be held there at 9:00am, prior to the race start.  50-mile racers may pick-up their race packets at that time or on Friday evening in Key Largo.  ALL 50 MILE RUNNERS MUST ATTEND THE SATURDAY MORNING OR FRIDAY EVENING SESSION OR WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RACE.

50 kilometer race--Between 11:15am and 12:30pm on race day, packet pick-up will be in Big Pine Key at the race start location which will be announced.  A MANDATORY orientation meeting for all 50K runners will be held at 12:30pm at that location.  ALL 50 KILOMETER RUNNERS MUST ATTEND THIS ORIENTATION MEETING IN ORDER TO COMPETE.

ALL TEAM MEMBERS AND CREW SUPPORT PEOPLE, WHETHER OR NOT THEY ATTEND A PRE-RACE MEETING, WILL BE EXPECTED TO FULLY KNOW THE RULES AND WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO COMPLY WITH THEM.

 

12. Why is “The Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys” the primary race charity?

The "Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys" has been the principal recipient of KEYS100 fundraising and donations for many years.  The "Foundation" assists qualified cancer patients living in the Florida Keys in their quest for education and treatment for their disease, in whatever way possible, and whenever possible.   The "Foundation" sponsors free prostate, breast and other cancer screenings, and provides direct financial support to patients and their families while undergoing treatment when other sources of financial assistance have been denied or exhausted.

Since 1998, the "Cancer Foundation" has been providing support to patients and their families from Key Largo to Key West with financial assistance, educational materials, cancer screenings, emotional support, information and referral services for prostate, breast, colon and other forms of cancer. All runners, crew, family and friends are urged to donate generously in support of this important work.  Donations to the "Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys, Inc." are tax deductible.

 

end faq