Kenyan man, Gainesville woman top finishers at Miami Marathon

More than 20,000 runners take part in various races

By Tim Swift, Madeleine Wright - Reporter

MIAMI - More than 20,000 runners from over 80 countries hit the streets of South Florida Sunday for the Fitbit Miami Marathon.

Runners faced high winds - gusts of up to 15 mph - along the route, slowing down the times of many marathon competitors.

Kenyan runner Hillary Too, 38, was the first man to cross the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes and 39 seconds.

“I was aiming at 2:15 this time. But the wind was so tough," Too  said. "But this way I could not make 2:15. But I'd like to come next time, yeah.”

Too who now lives in New Jersey said he trained for the marathon in the hills and mountains of Kenya - a far cry from the flat route of South Florida.

Lyubov Denisova, 46, of Gainesville, was the first woman to finish, with a time of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

"The course is good, no hills, and the bridges are not very high," Denisova said. "The only problem was the wind."

Originally from Russia, Denisova has lived in the U.S. for the past nine years and hopes to become a citizen this year.

Other runners such Giovanni Gari had more personal reason for taking part in the marathon.

“A few years ago, I was obese and I was given a choice. I mean, you either shape up or you ship out. I decided to shape up,” Gari said.

Both Too and Denisova will receive a $4,500 prize as the top finishers. All the other runners will receive a Miami Marathon medal.

Unlike other city marathons, Miami's medal has unique design - it spins in two places.

The 26.2-mile route ran through downtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove and Miami Beach. 

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