With approximately 100 boats in Florida for the first Good Days Key West Fun Run hosted by Keys Island Runners founder Daniel Garcia, last weekend’s poker-run format event at Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel was quite a hit. Garcia was unsure what kind of turnout the run would get considering he announced the event a little more than a month before it was happening. But that’s pretty much the way the group, which started as an Instagram page has grown from there, does it.
The inaugural Key West Fun Run hosted by Keys Island Runners attracted dozens of go-fast boats of all shapes and sizes. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Garcia and company are proud to not only be flexible and spontaneous but even a little unstructured. Those reasons, coupled with beautiful Florida Keys destinations, are the reasons so many boaters have gravitated to the Keys Island Runners events over the last couple of years.
Originally planning to head to Woman Key on Saturday, Garcia called an audible and took the group to Snipes Point because of strong southeast winds that would have made the run to Woman Key challenging for many of the boats, which ranged from single-engine fishing boats and twin-engine cats to larger center consoles with three and four outboard engines. There were a few sterndrive V-bottoms, but not many since they’re less efficient for hanging out at sandbars.
“It was cool to see some of these big boats come out for the run,” said Garcia, who was pleased with the host venue although the Marriott’s limited dock space created some challenges. “We had a 41-foot Cigarette center console, a 39-foot Doug Wright, a 38-foot Donzi with 525s, a 38-foot Statement center console, a 36-foot Blackwater center console, the new 32-foot Hellkats cat and a couple of MTI 390X cats. Shaun Torrente was here in his 390X and even Will Smith came down in his new 32-foot Phantom. That’s pretty cool. Overall the variety of boats showing up for our runs blows my mind.”
During the fun run, Garcia said he hosted a video crew from the event’s charity—Good Days, a Dallas-based non-profit advocacy organization that provides resources for life-saving and life-extending treatments to people in need of access to care. It’s a group his family became close with after his brother, Frankie Gutierrez, passed away from cancer in 2018. It’s also the only charity, according to Garcia, that financially helped his family during his brother’s battle, which is why he chose to give back to it.
Check out the slideshow above for 20 more images from the Key West Fun Run.
“I knew this would be an awesome weekend, but it was better than expected,” said Rick Haskins, a Key West native who recently purchased a 38-foot Statement Marine luxury performance center console with triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines from FB Marine Group that he named the SHX Statement Sunkisst in support of his SHX Real Estate company—he’s even created an Instagram page for it @shxstatement. “I met some super cool people and it was fun being one of the boaters with the local knowledge who helped people navigate the sandbars and all that. Danny is an incredible guy. I first hooked up with him a few years back when we sponsored the Buy The Keys raceboat he ran in Key West.”
“I’m so happy for him and the success of the group,” he added. “He deserves it. His brother, Frankie, was taken too early and Danny did all he could to support and take care of his brother. I’m grateful that I can get out there and participate in his events. Boats have always been my thing, but I’ve never had one like this where I could play at this level. The Statement is like a dream come true. It’s such an incredible boat.”
Haskins said his boat ran great all weekend and that he really enjoyed meeting new people and finding out more about them and their boats.
The owners of a twin Mercury Racing 450R-powered 390X from MTI, Michael and Sarah Howe enjoyed the fun run after bringing their boat down from their home on Big Pine Key.
“I thought the fun run was all good,” Michael Howe said. “There were a lot of boats there and we had a blast. We just did the events, we didn’t stay at the hotel.”
According to Garcia, the next Keys Island Runners fun run is being planned for June or July (he’ll be announcing dates soon), and the one after that—the second annual Frankie Gutierrez Memorial Fun Run hosted at the Perry Hotel on Stock Island—is going to be in late August or early September. Garcia will announce those dates once he confirms everything with the hotel.
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