Marianne Curtis was on track to becoming a pro athlete playing as a point guard at the University of Miami until an ankle injury during practice turned her dreams upside down.
The 2007 graduate now runs triathlons to keep her competitive spirit alive and proved she still has it, winning the female division of the new “Speedway Edition” of the Miami Man Triathlon series at Miami-Homestead Speedway. She finished the 70.3-mile half-Ironman in 4 hours 45 minutes and 57 seconds.
“The course was really cool,” Curtis said. “You came out of the swim in the lake in the middle and then the half-Iron had to do two loops through the track to Black Point. Then you run out to no-man’s land, come through the tunnel and do a second loop. You finish where the checkered flag is normally.”
She described the South Florida heat as being the hardest part of the course.
“It was in the mid-90s, but the organizers did a really good job,” she said. “The fans were great! They were all sitting on the wall that separates the pit from the track and cheering. The course was fun for me and felt like a run I do on the weekends with my group. So it had a really familiar feel. ”
Curtis, 27, of Key Biscayne, grew up in Pinecrest and played high school basketball at Palmetto. She has since found success off of the court as a district attorney for Miami-Dade County and has been running in triathlons for seven years.
“Life gets turned upside when your ankle goes,” Curtis said. “I basically had to reconstruct my ankle, and I couldn’t cut any more. We were in the [Atlantic Coast Conference], and imagine a point guard that can’t cut in the ACC.”
Curtis’ dreams of becoming a professional women’s basketball player were shattered, but she is happy where she ended up.
“Thing got really bad, but luckily my family is the best, and I had a lot of support,” she said. “My brother was already working as an attorney and helped get to where I needed to be.
“I started doing triathlons to stay competitive and to keep the feel of being a real athlete. This is now my seventh year doing triathlons.”
Coming in first overall in the half-Iron distance of the Speedway Edition was Yunior Rosete, 30, of Miami, who finished in in 3:59:11, just over a minute faster than Andres Castillo Latorre, 32, of Bogota, Colombia.
Key Biscayne’s Hector Santaella, 46, was the third-place male finisher in 4:30:24.
In the international distance, Isabel Olivas, 30, of Miami, and 28-year-old Rodrigo Acevedo, of Lake Worth, were first in the female and male categories, finishing in 2:24:42 and 1:59:25, respectively.