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Miami Marathon organizers applaud international flavor

The aftermath:  A day after thousands raced in Miami, race organizers said the cleanup went smoothly.
The aftermath: A day after thousands raced in Miami, race organizers said the cleanup went smoothly. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A day after the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon celebrated its 13th running on an ideal South Florida Sunday, weary event organizers were scrambling to ensure the course was as spotless as possible and already planning for next year.

Note Jan. 24, 2016, for your future calendar — that’s the date of next year’s event.

“It’s a very exciting, fast-paced thrill ride that I’m fortunate to produce with such a great team,” race director Javier Sanchez said. “It was an incredibly successful event.’’

Miami Marathon chief running officer Frankie Ruiz said he spent much of Monday driving the 26.2-mile course.

“Our runners can be a little erratic with the way they consume their goo packs,” Ruiz said of the energy gels. “They don’t necessarily consume them near water stations, so they drop them everywhere. I basically walked six or seven miles picking up packs that our cleaning crew either missed or got blown to the side.

“Overall, there was a Gatorade cup here or there, but for the most part, the course is just the way we found it — maybe cleaner.”

Last year there weren’t enough medals to go around. On Sunday, Ruiz and Sanchez personally made sure everyone got what they deserved.

“As a staff, we were there for the last finisher,” Ruiz said.

The marathon website listed 2,750 finishers in the marathon, with Alexander Swab of Coconut Creek as the final medalist in 7:15:25. The website listed 13,155 finishers in the half marathon.

The final combined registration: 20,187 compared with 25,000 in 2014.

“We didn’t see that much of a slowdown during the year,” Ruiz said. “It was pretty even to last year. Toward the end it slowed down a bit.

“Our local numbers were up percentage wise, and our international numbers — 21 percent of the field — were up percentage wise. Your international runner is fond of the climate for obvious reasons: coming from Mexico and Colombia the climate is not all that different, but someone coming from the Northeast is having a little more trouble training and staying in shape than Latin American runners.”

Sanchez and Ruiz are thrilled at the participation from Latin American countries and will continue targeting Mexico and Colombia, as well as Costa Rica, for 2016.

“The international flavor and culture, and what Miami is and how it appeals to the world was expressed by everything from the display of participant flags to the languages being spoken on race day,” Sanchez said. “There were an incredible amount of people whose main language was Spanish.”

Next year, organizers will focus on trying to bring in more spectators to line the course, a challenge for “a party town,” Ruiz said. “People here eat dinner late, go to sleep late. It’s tough on weekends.”

The marathon’s annual “registration blitz’’ begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and runs through Sunday, when prices are substantially reduced: 50 percent off the first 24 hours ($57.50 for the half and $70 for the full), 45 percent off the next 24 hours ($63.25 and $77) and 40 percent off from Thursday through Sunday ($69 and $84).

For information, go to themiamimarathon.com.

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