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Nurse couple gets Miami Beach Marathon sweep

With their neighbors skiing down their street in Beacon Hill, where they live in Boston, and months of hiding from the snow on the treadmill, husband-and-wife running duo Ian and Amanda Nurse decided to head down to South Beach for a mini-vacation, not expecting to compete.

To their surprise, their friend let them know they had the Miami Beach Marathon going on just steps from their hotel. They entered it and unexpectedly won both the male and female divisions.

“Dan Smith and I held back, and Elliot [Mason] and Bryan [Sharkey] were ahead through five miles,” Ian Nurse, 37, recalled. “I knew I was going to have a headwind coming across the causeway.”

In its seventh year, the Miami Beach 13.1 is the first leg in the 13.1 series, and the course isn’t designed to be fast. Rather, it was plotted to give runners a real challenge, according to Frankie Ruiz, chief running officer at Life Time Fitness, the event organizers.

“I think it is great that some out-of-towners came in and won,” Ruiz said. “Sharkey did a great job coming off of an injury, and he really pushed through. He came back and pounded his way across the causeway, and had the race been about a half-mile longer he would have probably won. It was a real race at the end.”

With 3,500 participants in the sold-out half marathon, Sharkey finished second in 1 hour 14 minutes 52.79 seconds, with Nurse slightly ahead with a winning time of 1:14:40.97.

“I tried to run at my marathon pace but couldn’t because of all of the heat,” said Nurse, who is training for the Boston Marathon. “I didn’t expect to win. It was a nice mini-vacation.”

In the women’s division, Amanda Nurse finished in 1:24:28.36, more than two seconds faster than runner-up Elizabeth Brookins of Homestead.