Former Ironman World Champion Takes the Women's Title
MIAMI, March 2, 2014 – They are friends and training partners, but in the end, only one got the first-place prize.
Dan Smith (1:11:56) of North Bay Village pulled ahead of training partners and Runners Depot teammates Dan Martin (1:13:04) and Elliott Mason (1:13:41) to win Sunday’s 2014 Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon®, produced and presented by Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM).
But the trio still completed a medals sweep.
“We were together for three to four miles,” said Smith, 35, who finished in fifth place in the half marathon at last month’s Life Time Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. “I tried to push on the up-hills and create separation. We probably broke apart at mile five.”
All three were running the Miami Beach race for the first time.
Two-time Ironman world champion Leanda Cave, 35, won the women’s race (1:26:53), finishing more than four minutes ahead of Michela Santini, 33, of Camaiore, Italy (1:31:17) and Vivien Wollitz, 39, of Coral Springs (1:33:50).
It was the first year the race was produced by Life Time, which recently acquired US Road Sports.
Nearly 3,000 runners began the half-marathon at 6:15 am in the heart of South Beach at Ocean Drive and 13th Street.
The 66-degree morning presented favorable conditions with low humidity and a light breeze.
Early on, runners passed some of Miami Beach’s most magnificent residences on their way over the Julia Tuttle Causeway and into Miami. The route took them through the Wynnwood Artist District where the area’s signature graffiti artwork is displayed on warehouses.
Runners then negotiated the MacArthur Causeway bridge on their way back to Miami Beach, passing the gleaming cruise ships in port. Then, they headed to South Beach along the new Point Park Bay Walk that offers spectacular views of Fisher Island and the beach. The final leg of the race came when runners turned on to Ocean Drive, finishing at Lummus Park in South Beach’s Art Deco district.
On this day, Smith, 35, a salesman for a flower importer, was the best of the trio. The former cross country and track runner at Salem State College picked up the pace while crossing the course’s second bridge.
“I got next to him, but he picked it up,” said Martin, 30, a lifeguard who was scheduled to work in the afternoon just two blocks from the finish line. “We run together and do everything together. We’re pretty much in the same place. It’s a good tune-up to see where we’re at.”
Mason, 35, a former FIU cross country and track athlete, is training for a November run in the Philadelphia Marathon in while Smith and Martin will be running the Boston Marathon in April.
“We just run hard. We want to show our training is working,” Mason said of Sunday’s sweep.
Another Runners Depot teammate, Bryan Sharkey, 26, was fourth in 1:13:49. Last December, Sharkey won two South Florida races-the Publix Tropical 5K and the Palm Beaches Marathon.
Cave, who became the first woman in the history of Ironman competition to win world championships at both the Ironman Triathlon (Hawaii) and the Ironman 70.3 (Las Vegas) in the same year (2012), was running her first race of the year after rehabbing a 2013 hamstring tear.
“I’m 100 percent,” said the British-born Cave, a part-time Tucson and part-time Miami Beach resident. “It was a good tester. It felt good. It’s such a tough course being level. You don’t get the down-hills to recover. But it’s always good to get in a race to give you an idea of where you are.”
Cave finished less than two minutes behind boyfriend Diaa Nour, 33, who was 12th overall and third in his age-group (1:25:23).
“Let’s be clear here,” said Nour, who said it was their first time competing in the same race. “At her best…well, I’ve got to take my wins when I can.”
Vacationing James Grufferty of Cork, Ireland won the accompanying LifeTime Fitness 5K race over a field of 375 runners. His time of 16:00 was more than two minutes ahead of second place finisher Alan Ortega (18:24).
The 31-year-old Grufferty entered the race “just wanting a good run.” The medical center manager was so far out in front of the field that he got lost several times. “The (race) crew kept waving me to go a different way,” he said.
Helman Roman was the first of nine Achilles athletes to cross the finish line in the disabled athletes division. It was the first time the Achilles team participated in the Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon® race.
The Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon® is the fourth leg of the Florida Storm Series, which also includes the Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1 Marathon®, the Palm Beaches Marathon and Run Fest, the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay.
About Life Time Fitness, Inc.
As The Healthy Way of Life Company, Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) helps organizations, communities and individuals achieve their total health objectives, athletic aspirations and fitness goals by engaging in their areas of interest – or discovering new passions – both inside and outside of Life Time’s distinctive and large sports, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destinations, most of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Company’s Healthy Way of Life approach enables customers to achieve this by providing the best programs, people and places of uncompromising quality and value. As of March 2, 2014, the Company operated 109 centers under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information about Life Time centers, programs and services is available at lifetimefitness.com.