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You Are the Champion

The Fort Lauderdale 13.1 half marathon is here -- that's a fact -- but if you're prepared to run it is all opinion. Normally, we would steer you away from such grandiose physical endeavors if you haven't been preparing Rocky-style for this run. But there's a place for us all in this race -- as seen by all the quirky characters who run the serene, humid streets of Fort Lauderdale. For instance, our favorite local runner, Dennis Marsella, AKA Coatman, shows that you don't have to be a typical runner to be a marathoner. He runs along A1A in a coat, sometimes dress shoes. His staple? Carrying palm up a pizza box which contains angel food cake, on top of which he balances a bottle of vinegar. We're not suggesting you should create such a niche -- even Rocky never got that clever. Just show up race weekend with $90 in hand to pay the entry fee ($70 if you make it before the end of the 13th). The starting point is 17th Street near the Broward Convention Center (1799 SE 17 Street), and the finish line is South Beach Park on A1A (1100 Seabreeze Boulevard). The course has you running along Las Olas Boulevard,through downtown Fort Lauderdale, and up A1A. After the turnaround, when you're heading back down A1A, an adoring public will send cheers your way (and the club fighter in you will feel more like the world heavyweight champ). At the finish, you’ll receive a 13.1 finisher medal. If the weather thus far has been any precursor, a coat is not needed. But let’s hope Coatman is there. Race starts at 6:13 a.m. for runners, 6:03 a.m. for wheelers. Call 305-278-8668, or visit
Sun., Nov. 15, 6:03 a.m., 2009
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Mickie Centrone

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