Miami Marathon organizers vow to deliver medals after shipment mix-up

The half-marathon portion of the Miami Marathon ran out of medals Sunday when organizers realized too late that their shipment was incomplete.

02/04/2014 12:01 AM

02/04/2014 1:55 AM

Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon organizers are especially proud of the colorful, innovative medals they award to finishers.

Unfortunately, there weren’t enough to go around Sunday.

Event organizers ran into a late crisis during the race when they said they realized they hadn’t received their full shipment of medals for the half marathon. By then it was too late.

Out of 15,453 finishers in the half marathon, 1,469 did not get their medals, said race co-founder Frankie Ruiz.

Race organizers were scrambling to call every one of those people on Monday to apologize and explain the situation.

“We produce world-class events and we take a lot of pride in what we do and I think athletes deserve to be awarded with a premium experience for their accomplishments,” said race director Javier Sanchez on Monday afternoon. “Due to an inadvertent shortage in our shipments, not all athletes received their deserved half-marathon finishers’ medals.”

A similar message greets those who go to the marathon’s website, www.themiamimarathon.com.

Said Ruiz: “We were always going to resolve the situation. Only once in my entire 12 years have we ever been shorted medals, and that’s when a box was stolen.

“We are 100 percent sending these medals to the participants in the quickest method possible. If I have to personally deliver them to every single person I will. Ninety-eight percent of our event was delivered well, but this is one of the more meaningful parts because it’s the last you leave with. We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure people are happy.’’

Ruiz said the marathon staff was still trying to track where the medals went. He said his staff ordered enough.

The large, round medals have spinning palm trees inside them and are on multi-colored ribbons designed by artist Alexander Mijares.

One runner who missed out on having a medal draped around his neck was Dr. Miguel Cobas, Chief of Service, Anesthesiology, at Jackson South Community Hospital.

Cobas, 46, finished his first half marathon in 3 hours 9 minutes 48 seconds. He described the course as “beautiful” and the overall experience, though painful (he “cramped up” because of the heat and humidity), as gratifying.

But he left the event disillusioned, and wishes organizers would have explained the situation immediately – or at least posted something earlier on their website.

“You run 13.1 miles and you want to get your medal, right?” Cobas said. “People were upset. One lady said, ‘Don’t worry, your medal is going to be mailed to you. Don’t kill the messenger.’ But they didn’t get our information for mailing.”

Ruiz said race organizers know exactly when they ran out of medals, and because of the sophisticated timing technology, have records of everyone who didn’t receive one.

In all, a combined field of 25,000 registered for the event, with the 15,453 half-marathon finishers and 3,545 marathon finishers. Total starters: 19,139.

• The 2015 Life Time Miami Marathon is set for 6:15 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 – one week before the Super Bowl, rather than on the same day.

And, as usual, the event will begin its “2015 online registration blitz” at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with the first 200 registrants getting 50 percent off the initial marathon cost of $87.50 and the initial half-marathon cost of $70; the next 200 registrants for each race getting 30 percent off; and all others getting a 20 percent discount.

The discounts apply through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

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