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Photo Essay: Kicking It Casual With Keys Island Runners

As summer weekends of high-performance boating events go, last one was a doozy. In Northern Michigan, you had the 18th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run, which returned in fine style after a one-year hiatus. In Maryland, you had the inaugural Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar Poker Run, top-speed shootout and Offshore Powerboat Association-produced, American Power Boat Association-sanctioned kilometer runs. Both events had size limits. Both required registration and had entry fees.

Nothing wrong with any of that, of course.

Said Keys Island Runners founder Daniel Garcia, III, of this image from last weekend’s event: “This photo is only of one-third of the sandbar. It was packed.” Photos courtesy/copyright Richard Haskins/Keys Island Runners.

Meanwhile in the Upper Florida Keys, you had the Keys Island Runners Autism Awareness Fun Run from Key Largo to the Islamorada Sandbar where all participants had to do was show up with a powerboat and a good attitude. The happening started with an early Friday evening meet-and-great at Gilbert’s Tiki Bar and Resort in Key Largo followed by a sunset raft-up.

The following day’s official raft-up at the famed sandbar attracted participants from throughout the Keys and South Florida.

Participants came from all over the Keys to enjoy the casual happening.

“The Friday meet-and-greet at Gilbert’s and Sunset Raft up was the biggest and best organized one that we’ve ever had yet for the Key Largo to Islamorada Fun Run,” said Daniel Garcia, III, who founded the almost 30,000-member group via Instagram a few years ago. “For the Saturday raft-up, I’d say there were close to 200 boats there from Keys Island Runners.

“The weekend was great,” he added. “We had a good time, as usual.”

Next up on the Keys Island Runners schedule, the second-year Frankie Gutierrez, Jr., Memorial Fun/Poker Run is scheduled for September 16-18.

The Saturday raft-up last until the early evening.

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