Everglades Ultras

Runners looking forward to second Everglades Ultras races

 

scocking@miamiherald.com

Who would want to run as far as 50 miles through a sawgrass prairie or muddy swamp where they might encounter alligators, venomous snakes and black bears?

Lots of people, as it turns out — maybe as many as 250 men and women.

More than 100 runners have already signed up to compete in the second Everglades Ultras — 50-mile, 50- and 25-kilometer races Feb. 16 through the rugged Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in southwest Florida. Last year’s inaugural race drew 86 competitors with 72 finishers in the three categories. This year, the 50-mile and 50-K races are sanctioned as state championships by USA Track & Field.

“It’s getting exciting,” race director Bob Becker said. “We’ll be double the size of last year, at least.”

Becker expects the course to be drier than last year because the race has been moved from January to February, taking advantage of seasonally low rainfall. The event will be based near the Fakahatchee ranger station in tiny Copeland and runs from before daylight until dark. More than 40 volunteers will staff aid stations scattered throughout the course and park rangers will patrol in all-terrain vehicles to help anyone who gets in trouble.

The park’s wild denizens caused no trouble last year, according to Becker.

“I don’t think anyone ever saw a snake or a gator last year,” he said. “We didn’t see many animals with so many people out there.”

The Fakahatchee, at 20 miles long and five miles wide, is the largest of all Florida state parks, but perhaps the least known. Becker, of Fort Lauderdale, said he didn’t know much about it until he began organizing the 2012 Everglades Ultras.

“It’s not all swampland,” he said. “When you open up into some of the prairies, it’s breathtaking. It’s an exciting and very different venue for people in South Florida. The park is wonderfully supportive.”

Runners may scatter the wildlife but they’ll have an excellent chance of seeing native orchids and bromeliads since the swamp and prairie harbor more of those species than any place in the United States. The swamp forest is also the only place on earth where royal palms and cypress stand next to one another.

Michele Graglia, 28, of Miami won the inaugural 50-mile race in 8:18:27. The top finisher in the 50-K was LeRand Dixon, 27, of Key West in 6:57:42. Andy Nesheim, 30, of Mequon, Wisc., topped the 25-K in 2:02:03.

There may be a few spots left in the race. Visit evergladesultras.com for more information.

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

  • Ask Nancy

    Ask Nancy: My mother won’t listen to her doctors

    Q. My sister and I are constantly taking my 86-year-old mother to the doctor for her real and/or imagined problems and the doctor will make suggestions or prescribe treatments. She either disagrees with what the doctor says and requests to see a different doctor, or decides that she doesn’t want to do the treatment or take the medicine. How do we get her to comply with what the doctors prescribe?

  •  
Dr. Fabio Paes, left, who runs the radiology department at Community Health of South Florida, Inc., with Andrius Lescauskas, center, a family-medicine resident who is studying radiology as part of his rotation, examines Marjorie Llerena.

    Healthcare

    Affordable Care Act creates residencies for doctors in South Florida health centers

    Community Health of South Florida trains physicians to help combat primary care doctor shortages.

  • Skin Deep

    The connection between lymph and how you look

    You’ve surely heard the word “lymph” or are familiar with the concept of “lymphatic drainage,” but do you really know what this is and what it means for your appearance?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category