FORT LAUDERDALE (Nov. 11, 2012): Jon Volpi of Boca Raton and Justyna Mudy of Rome, Ga overcame windy conditions to win the Fifth Annual Allstate Life InsuranceSM Fort Lauderdale 13.1 Marathon® on Fort Lauderdale beach Sunday morning.
Volpi, 29, won the men's division with a time of 1:11:32 while Mudy, a 28-year-old Poland native, was the first woman to finish and the seventh overall runner in a time of 1:18:51.
Volpi was locked into a three-man race at the half-way point with 24-year-old Agustin Rey of Coral Springs and Miramar's Ronnie Holassie, 41, before pulling away. He finished 42 seconds faster than Rey (1:12:14), an all-conference runner at Nova Southeastern who graduated in 2011. Holassie, a three-time Palm Beach marathon winner, was third in 1:12:33, well off his personal best of 1:04:15.
"I know Ronnie and I knew we are on the same level so I thought we'd just stick together and work together, especially going out," said Volpi, who is in his first year as Lynn University's assistant women's cross country coach. "Then when we turned around (on the final stretch along Fort Lauderdale Beach), I thought I'd take advantage of the tail wind. With about four miles to go I felt pretty good, so I wanted to see how much I could pull away."
Mudy emerged from a pack of five runners -- including an Elvis Presley impersonator - to finish ahead of Russians Mariya Korobickaya (1:19:47) and Viktoriia Poliudina (1:21:02).
"Sometimes I thought I was running sideways," said the diminutive Mudy, who only weighs 111 pounds. "Without the wind it would have been perfect. Seeing the ocean was awesome. I'm just happy I won."
After jockeying for position over the first three miles of the race, Mudy made her move.
"I said 'holy cow, this is so slow'," said Mudy, who picked up her third 13.1 title after winning the Allstate Life InsuranceSM Dallas 13.1 Marathon® last year and the Atlanta event on Oct. 7. "So I just went."
Miami's Cobi Morales, a two-time winner in Fort Lauderdale, was fifth in 1:15:10 while 2011 women's champion Angela Cobb of Melbourne, FL was the fifth woman to finish Sunday (1:21:55).
More than 3,000 runners participated in the prep race for the 2013 ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon® on January 27, 2013. They challenged a new course which began just South of Broward Blvd. on SW 1st Ave. and wound through Downtown Fort Lauderdale including a unique run through the Henry Kinney tunnel before turning East along E. Las Olas Blvd., the famous stretch of galleries, cafes and shops that makes Downtown Ft. Lauderdale a pedestrian-friendly destination, and then along the beach with a finish at South Beach Park.
It also was the first year of a new title sponsorship by Allstate Life Insurance, which is sponsoring the entire 13.1 Marathon series that also includes races in Los Angeles (January 13, 2013), New York (March 23, 2013), Chicago (June 8, 2013), Atlanta (October 7, 2012), Dallas (October 27, 2012), and Boston (September 16, 2012).
The event also included the Karhu 5K race that was run on a modified route alongside the 13.1. Filip Alderin, who had flown in from Sweden to run in the New York Marathon, finished first while Meagan Nedlo's "fun run" netted the women's title.
Alderin was a last-minute 5K entry following the New York Marathon's cancellation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy clean-up efforts.
"We had planned ahead of time to go to Florida for some rehab for me, "Alderin said. "Since New York was cancelled, I saw the banner and thought that a 5K was probably good for a vacation."
The 34-year-old, who works as a controller for a European sports merchandiser, also found the wind his greatest challenge on this 75-degree South Florida morning.
"The headwind was pretty tough, especially when I was coming down Las Olas," said Alderin, who ran 17:02, short of his personal best 16:40.
Nedlo, an events coordinator for race sponsor Craft, used the event as a warm-up for next week's Philadelphia Marathon.
"If we could have run from the finish to the start it would have been so awesome," joked Nedlo. "It's nice and scenic and I liked everything about it except for the wind. You can keep working but you're not going to go faster. The amount of effort you're going to put out is not going to come back to you in regards to gaining time, so I just tried to relax and not fight it. "
Alderin and Nedlo were among the 10 runners who won a pair of shoes by beating Joaquin Cuadra, aka the Karhu Bear. Cuadra runs for Miami Sole Runners Club, but on this November morning he was the mascot of the Finnish shoe company that sponsors the race.
While some runners were winning shoes, others were giving them away. Nearly 300 pairs of lightly-worn shoes were collected at the event by non-profit Give Your Sole, which teamed up with All-State Life Insurance to make a donation to the Miami Rescue Mission.
"We work with rescue missions across the country," said Give Your Sole founder Brett Byrd. "Whatever city we are in we donate locally so we have immediate impact."
Give Your Sole has collected more than 10,000 shoes over the past four years at Allstate Life InsuranceSM 13.1 Series events. The Ft. Lauderdale collection was the fifth of 2012, which had already netted more than 2,000 pairs of shoes.
"The weather today was perfect for us," said race director Javier Sanchez. "It was a great half marathon race this morning. A real flat course allowed for a strong competition. We had a lot of South Florida fastest runners here. It's a great honor to any half marathon when you've got everyone from Cobi Morales to Ronnie Holassie to Jon Volpe. Everyone seemed to love the new course, and it was more spacious than ever and filled with entertainment."
The inaugural Finish-Together Relay was a new wrinkle in 2012 which allowed teams of two to split the 13.1 mile distance and be awarded a pair of medals.
"It was a beautiful day for a race, although windy, the temperature was just right welcoming some of South Florida's top runners and representation from 22 countries," said Race Director Javier Sanchez. "The growing popularity of the series reached a new milestone today honoring three participants, William Perez, Norman Veraa, & Joshua Hwung whom completed all eight 13.1® Series events in 2012. Traveling the nation to run the series will pay off for the now five individuals whom have now won free entry into any 13.1 Marathon® Series event for life."
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About US Road Sports
US Road Sports & Entertainment Group is a health and wellness company dedicated to the production of world-class endurance events. The mission of US Road Sports is to offer an unparalleled participant sports experience that showcases host communities and endures as a deeply valued local asset through events that are a part of the city's culture, identity and brand. For each participant, US Road Sports strives to offer events that allow participants of all skill levels the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health and accomplish life-altering goals while having fun. US Road Sports provides sponsors and municipalities highly effective exposure to help maximize their presence and message in the community.
Born in 1916, KARHU is Finland's legendary running brand. Meaning "bear" in Finnish, KARHU has an authentic heritage in running and a deep connection to the outdoors. KARHU follows the Finnish principles of design simplicity and running purity in providing technical running and outdoor gear for nearly 100 years. KARHU running shoes have been worn on the feet of some of the greatest Finnish runners, including Boston Marathon champion Olavi Suomalainen, and Paavo Nurmi, giving rise to the Flying Finns. Engineering innovative products that collaborate with the foot to convert your body's natural energy into forward momentum through the patented Fulcrum™ technology, KARHU footwear products are sold globally by running specialty retailers. KARHU is owned by KARHU Holding B.V. and designs, markets and distributes KARHU branded products. For more information about KARHU, visit Kharhu.com.