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Chilly weather helps Miami Half Marathon runners

Mariano Mastromarino, the first place half marathon finisher, runs through the finish line during the 2015 Miami Marathon & Half Marathon at the starting line in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Mastromarino, of Argentina, finished in 1:05:23.
Mariano Mastromarino, the first place half marathon finisher, runs through the finish line during the 2015 Miami Marathon & Half Marathon at the starting line in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Mastromarino, of Argentina, finished in 1:05:23.

It’s summer in Argentina, so Mariano Mastromarino spent much of the past four months training for the Miami Half Marathon in heat in excess of 90 degrees.

The professional runner was expecting at least something of the same Sunday in downtown Miami, where the chilly 53-degree temperature at start time initially shocked participants of the 13th annual race but ultimately helped enhance many of their times.

“I was surprised,” Mastromarino said through a translator, shortly after winning the 13.1-mile race with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes 23 seconds. “But I enjoyed it. Perfect conditions.”

Mastromarino, 32, missed his half marathon best by less than a minute. Still, he never trailed and crossed the finish line alone, almost two minutes ahead of Michael Ottoniel Mucia Lopez, of Guatemala.

“It was like a party for me,” Mastromarino said.

“It took Lopez 1 hour 7 minutes to finish what was a redemption race of sorts for him. The 23-year-old was forced to withdraw from last year’s Miami Half Marathon after a hamstring cramp plagued him in the 18th mile.

Mario Marcias, of Boulder, Colorado, finished third with a time of 1:07:06.

In the women’s race, Soranyi Rodriguez, of the Dominican Republic, rode the cool temperatures and flat track to her second career half marathon win with a time of 1 hour 19 minutes 11 seconds.

“It was s great course,” she said through a translator. “I found it easy to run.”

Elizabeth Young (1:22:27), from Washington, D.C., and Aimee Nielsen (1:24:06), of Miami, finished second and third.

Miguel Tellez of Aventura was the top local male finisher. His 1 hour 17 minutes 12 second time was good for seventh overall. Erasmo Vazquez (10th, 1:17:51) and Guilherme Pereira (14th, 1:18:31), both from Miami, according to themiamimarathon.com, also posted strong times.

Miami Gulliver Prep graduate Bryan Sharkey rebounded from a hamstring injury to place 18th in his return to competition. Sharkey tore his right hamstring during the 21st mile of the New York City marathon in November, when he limped the final five miles to the finish.

“It felt like someone punched me in the back of the leg,” Sharkey said.

After seven weeks of rest and therapy, Sharkey had just 15 days to train before participating in Saturday’s Tropical 5K as a warmup for Sunday’s main event.

“When you train in 85 degrees and race in 53 degrees, it’s a huge difference and you feel 10 times better,” he said. “This weather definitely helped.”

Nearly 25,000 runners participated in the half or full marathon events, representing more than 80 countries and all 50 states. Runners were sent off in grand style from AmericanAirlines Arena on Biscayne Blvd, with many non-elite runners celebrating as they took off. Selfie sticks weren’t just a presence in the crowd, but on the track as well.

Many of the winners and high placers said they appreciated and benefited from the festive atmosphere.

“The crowds have gotten bigger and bigger,” Sharkey said. “The crowds are great and it’s a flat course. This is how you get a better field, a faster field.”

“In New York, there are people lining the streets for 26 miles,” he continued. “That’s what this is becoming.”

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