Mari Finnerud, a native of Norway, travels the world in search of fun places and races, bringing her to Miami this weekend for Life Time's iconic event, the Fitbit Miami Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday and additionally Saturday's Fitbit Tropical 5K.
"It has been snowing a lot back home," Finnerud said. "I was looking forward to a fun run this morning and then laying on the beach, getting some sun and drinking Pina Coladas."
A cold front blew through South Florida Saturday morning, bringing unexpected wind, rain and frosty temperatures to the race. It was the last thing Finnerud was anticipating after traveling 4700 miles with hopes for warmth and sunshine, but she was right in her element. Finnerud blew away her fellow women competitors, finishing in 19:13:93, 46 seconds ahead of Lana Gobert of Aruba.
Venezuelan Alvaro Vasquez Gonzalez won the men's division with a time of 15:59:62, 22 seconds faster than Miami Beach's Bryan Huberty, who won the race three years in a row from 2014-2017.
Runners in the race produced by Life Time, the premier healthy lifestyle brand, crossed the scenic MacArthur Causeway with its docked cruise ships and waterfront views before ending along the southern tip of Miami Beach. This was just what Finnerud expected from her trip to Miami, just not exactly with the gloomy backdrop of dark skies and rain-soaked streets.
She and her boyfriend, Vegar Lie, will run the Marathon together Sunday. She plans to slow down to his pace so they can share the Run Miami experience. Saturday, Lie was unable to keep up. He finished 28th in the men's division, 27 seconds behind Finnerud.
"I know it's not so good for a boy to finish behind his girlfriend but she has talent," Lie joked.
Finnerud took up running five years ago at age 20 and enjoys the adrenaline rush of a race and the feeling after pushing herself to her limit. She is a natural. Her winning time Saturday was actually a full minute behind her personal best.
"I didn't expect to win," Finnerud said. "I didn't realize I was first until I came to the finish line. I have a strained muscle in my leg. So I didn't push it too hard."
Gonzalez will also run the Marathon Sunday as an elite runner, but does not expect to compete for the victory. He will treat the race as more of a training run.
Saturday was much more serious for him after finishing second in the Tropical 5K in 2017. He saw Saturday's victory as a sign of the progress he has made in the past 12 months.
"The rain made it cold and that can obviously be challenging," Gonzalez said. "But I ran at a great pace. I ran by myself and was very excited to get first place. I love what I do. It is exciting for me to share this with my country."
This weekend's activities host approximately 25,000 participating athletes from more than 100 countries. The 2019 experience will be one to remember, with predicted rainfall through the duration of the weekend, but spirits remain high as people from around the globe gather in Miami to compete in the iconic race.
Fitbit Tropical 5K
| 1 ||ALVARO VASQUEZ GONZALEZ || Miami, FL || 15:59.6|
| 2 || BRYAN HUBERTY || Miami Beach, FL || 16:22.0|
| 3 || CARLOS ALSINA || Carolina, PR || 16:22.6|
| 4 || LAZARO RENATO RASHID || Miami, FL || 16:28.4|
| 5 || SCOTT RUSSELL || Fort Lauderdale, FL || 16:30.7|
| 6 || JOSEPH JOHNSON || Homestead, FL || 17:28.0|
| 7 || JUAN DE CORDOVA DEL CAMPO || Guayaquil || 17:29.7|
| 8 || RODRIGO DE OVANDO || Ciudad De Mexico, Mex.|| 17:33.4|
| 9 || JEAND DUNO || Miami Beach, FL || 17:39.7|
| 10 || KELMERL JIMENEZ || Miami Beach, FL || 17:42.9|
|1 || MARI K. FINNERUD || Drammen Norway || 19:13.9|
|2 || LANA GOBERT || Noord, Aruba || 19:59.2|
|3 || SOLENE MASSON || Nice, France || 20:17.5|
|4 || ANAHI AMADO || Miami, FL || 20:32.1|
|5 ||KELIN REYES || Diriamba, Nicaragua || 20:39.6|
|6 ||MARIANELA URQUIETA || Santiago, Chile || 20:40.4|
|7 ||JESSICA BIGIO || Miami Beach, FL || 20:41.3|
|8 || SARAH FLOYD || Dorchester, MA || 21:17.8|
|9 || MARGARITA HERNANDEZ || Miami Beach, FL || 21:18.4|
|10 || GLENDA ADAMS || Madison, WI || 22:11.6|
About Life TimeŽ-Healthy Way of Life
Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across its 141 destinations in 39 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the premier healthy lifestyle brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompass the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit, lifetime.life.
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