Runners find amusement in crowded race

This winner, Ronnie Holassie, of team CBS4, shows for whom he ran for in this years race after crossing the finishing line of the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run. The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run was held in downtown Miami where over 23k runners and walkers participated on Thursday, April 25, 2013.
This winner, Ronnie Holassie, of team CBS4, shows for whom he ran for in this years race after crossing the finishing line of the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run. The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run was held in downtown Miami where over 23k runners and walkers participated on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Special to The Miami Herald

A couple of seconds after the start of Thursday night’s run, Oscar Gonzalez of HSBC Bank was already at the finish. That’s because the throng of 25,000 people stretched from the starting line in front of Bayfront Park a half mile north to the finish line in front of Bayside. It took Gonzalez almost 20 minutes to get to the starting line.

“Last year, I ran with the pack and I got bumped around,” Gonzalez said. “But this year I decided to start at the back. I don’t mind giving 25,000 people a head start.”

Three hours before race time, Ernie Ramos, 45, of the City of North Miami, warmed up by sipping some beers with a few of his 56 teammates in a tent inside Bayfront Park.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Ramos said. “I’m going to have a few now and about three afterwards.”

Also getting ready early for the 3.1-miler was Jesus Valdez, 24, of Braman Motors. An hour before race time, Valdez, who is 6-0 and 250 pounds, ate a double cheeseburger with French fries and a large Coke.

“I eat like this before every race, and it doesn’t bother me at all,” Valdez said.

Unlike the front-runners, many among the moving masses were running just to have fun. Luke Pitcher, 39, of the Orange Bowl Committee, took his dog, Ozzie, along for the run.

“He got tired after two miles and I had to carry him,” Pitcher said. “But then he saw the lights at the finish line and he was ready to go again.”

Alex Mesa, 44, of JS Benz, was a crowd favorite. Mesa ran the entire race backward.

“A few years ago I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and I’m HIV positive, so I started running,” Mesa said. “I run all of my races backwards, and it doesn’t hurt me at all, except today was tough going up the bridge. I just like doing it.”

Also having fun was Angelo Manganaro, 34, of Mercantile Commerce Bank. After crossing the finish in just under an hour, Manganaro kept running for about a block.

“It’s the way I warm down,” Manganaro said.

Matthew Amster, 40, of Bercow Radell & Fernandez, P.A., ran with his 8-year-old son, Jake, who is in third grade.

“I loved going over the bridge because I could see the water,” Jake said, who has run in six 5Ks.

Positive outlooks

For two runners, it was a night of personal triumph.

Nine years ago, Carla Valle-Schwenk, 45, a member of UM Team, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was told I could never run again, but now my cancer is in remission thanks to the treatment I’ve received at UM,” Valle-Schwenk said.

Marilyn Cabrera, 34, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a few years ago, and she lost 38 pounds. But now she is cancer-free, too.

“I felt really strong today. I feel great,” Cabrera said, who finished in just over an hour.

Big warmup

Race organizers billed the event as Florida’s biggest office party.

But 15 minutes before the race, it proved to be the state’s biggest warmup. Thousands of runners crowded into the Promenade inside Bayfront Park where they did an aerobics workout while listening to music blaring from two huge boom boxes that hung from a giant stage inside the park. While exercising, the crowd tossed dozens of beach balls around.

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Timing:</span> West Palm Beach resident Kacie Herrick, 29, finished last year’s Boston Marathon about 40 minutes before the first bomb went off.

    Boston Marathon

    South Florida runners return to Boston for emotional marathon

    In what is sure to be an emotional day, several locals are back in Boston to finish, or finish how they wanted to last year before terrorists struck.

Steve Kantner prepares to release a grass carp estimated at 12-14 pounds that he caught on fly rod in the C-11 canal in Davie.


    Flyfishing for carp a ‘berry’ good time

    Fort Lauderdale author and fly fisherman Steve Kantner idled slowly west on the grassy, linear park swale between Orange Drive and Griffin Road in Davie on a recent weekday afternoon, examining the broad, leafy ficus trees lining the banks of the C-11 canal.

  • Notebook

    Measures by Wildlife Commission target invasive lionfish

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, meeting last week near Tallahassee, stepped up the battle against the spread of invasive lionfish. Commissioners gave preliminary approval to draft rules that would prohibit importation and development of aquaculture of lionfish; permit divers using rebreathers to harvest the venomous exotics; and expand opportunities for spearfishing tournaments to target lionfish.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

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