While some runners suffered from leg cramps and exhaustion, there were others who had no problem going the distance in Sunday’s ING Miami Marathon.
After crossing the finish line in 4 hours 9 minutes, Maria Fontares, 45, of Miami, broke into a dance. “I listened to music in my earphones and danced most of the way,” said Fontares, who wore a white tutu. “The crowds loved it.”
For Martha Corazzini (3:48), 54, of Las Vegas, it was the 154th time she has gone the 26.2-mile distance.
Wearing a T-shirt that said “Marathon Maniac,” Corazzini had leg problems at Mile 19 and almost was forced to stop.
“I have a 40-race streak going, and I didn’t want to stop,” said Corazzini, who started running in 1993.
Like Corazzini, Adebowale Oni, 38, of Baltimore, is also a road warrior. Oni, who is 5-10 and 240 pounds, has run a total of 99 marathons on every continent except Antarctica.
George Melichar, 34, of New Orleans, also has a busy racing calendar. Sporting a red mohawk and a multicolored shirt he personally designed, Sunday’s run was just one of 45 planned ultra-distance events he will participate in during the next 12 months.
“My motto is anyone can achieve elite goals without being an elite athlete,” he said.
Although Jessica Crate, 27, of Melbourne, is not an elite athlete, her sportsmanship during the race Sunday was exceptional.
While on her way to a 3:25 finish, she lost 30 minutes when she stopped to help a runner who was overcome with heat exhaustion at Mile 18.
When a runner in front of her started to fall, she caught him and helped him to the curb, where he passed out. She revived him by pouring water over his head. Then she jumped into a paramedic truck that was taking him to the hospital. When she was assured he was going to be all right, she got out at Mile 19.
One runner who enjoyed himself was Darren Weissman, a 30-year-old basketball coach at Miami Gulliver Middle School. Weissman, whose nickname is “Dr. Dribble,” went the distance while bouncing two basketballs. “It’s the first time I’ve done this, and now when I ask a player to run I won’t see him roll his eyes.”
Also having fun were Carlos and Debbie Condado of Monument, Colo. To celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary, Debbie wore a wedding gown and Carlos was attired in a tuxedo. “It was great but it was hot,” Carlos Condado said. “Maybe we’ll do it on our 50th anniversary.”
It was an emotional day for Canadian resident Pierre Bouchard (3:05), 50, who ran with the names of friends and relatives written in ink on his arms and legs. On his left leg was the word “ Natalie,” in honor of his mother, who recently died.
Waiting at the finish line for Lance Benson, 39, of Miami, were his daughters (17 months and 6 months).
Benson, who was born without legs, covered the distance on a skateboard. On the back of his shirt were the words: “No legs, no problem.”
A Better option
A special feature of Sunday’s event was the ING Run For Something Better, a 1.2-mile fun run that had 5,000 participants representing various Miami-Dade County middle schools. Those participating had completed a 15-week training program that covered 25 miles. They ran the last 1.2 miles Sunday.
Kaila Richardson, 12, of Vineland K-8 Center and Daniel Dominguez, 12, of Vineland, were the overall winners.