On Sunday, Dave Scott was looking up. In addition, things were looking up for Dave Scott.
Scott is the race director of the ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon. When he was looking up at the sky Sunday, the Goodyear blimp was floating high above the event.
“We had the Goodyear blimp for the first time,” he said. “I would certainly think that makes us a major event.”
Scott had a great day Sunday, starting in the hours before the sun came up and ending in ... well, a long day is nothing to worry about, just like many of the runners think a long run is nothing to worry about.
But for Scott and the race hierarchy, there might be some concern in the future. Rumors floated Sunday that title race sponsor ING, a finance and insurance company, might not be back next year.
If nothing else, one thing is certain — a contract has not yet been signed for 2014.
“We’re in the negotiating phase,” Scott said. “We certainly enjoy and like our partnership with ING and hope it continues.”
That was the lone dark cloud on Sunday while some 25,000 runners ran through the streets of Miami under skies that were bright and sunny — once the sun had come over the horizon. There were absolutely no drops of rain — just drops of sweat.
“I haven’t let it rain since I’ve been here,” joked Scott, who was directing his fourth Miami Marathon.
Scott, 61, said he thought the influx of international runners was a huge plus for this year’s race.
He speculated, although he did not have exact figures yet about the foreign infusion, “That’s something I’m really excited about.”
He did know for sure, “There were more than 79 countries represented, including every country in South America.” In addition, “Every state in the U.S. was represented in the race.”
For each of the 25,000 runners (and 5,000 school kids who ran their own separate 1.2-mile race in a physical-fitness initiative in conjunction with the school system), there must have been three or so family members or friends in attendance, bringing the total number of people at the event to more than 100,000, attested to by the log-jammed traffic and body-to-body crowds downtown.
As Scott was talking, some runners from the marathon and half marathon were still making their way across the finish line. Scott, a former FIU baseball player and longtime assistant baseball coach and athletic administrator at the University of Miami, said, “That’s what makes this unique. Those people who have run a marathon are probably about 1 percent of the people in the world.”
Scott, as most people are, was interested in watching the camaraderie in the race. Strangers crossing the finish line next to each other who would hug each other for the not-so-simple task of running 26.2 or 13.1 miles, and say, “Hey, way to go, man. You did great.”
An example of the runner’s spirit and commitment: During Sunday’s race, two friends from New York — Nick Garramone and Tim Stockert — crossed the finish line in elation. Then they looked back and saw a runner who also had just finished crossing the line, but was in obvious distress, weaving and stutter-stepping and ready to topple.
They didn’t know him, but they hustled back and lifted his arms over their shoulders and helped him. Then the runner completely collapsed. They gathered him up in their arms, gently put him down on the asphalt and called for medics to come over.
The man was treated for dehydration and was fine.
“I really think runners are unique people,” Stockert said. “They are very giving to each other. Why I like running is that people are so very giving to each other.”
And that’s why Dave Scott said, with this year’s race not even over, “I’m ready right now to get going on next year’s race.”