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Ringling Bridge Run draws a crowd

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ringling bridge run 2

(Know anyone who ran in the race? Maybe you'll see them in one of our massive photo galleries of the Ringling Bridge Run: Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Gallery 4.)

Alandra Marfia woke up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, excited about the New Balance Ringling Bridge Run.

For her, the best part was the start.

“You could see all the colors and heads and people getting going,” she said. “It was nice to see all the families. It was moving.”

Marfia finished the 4-mile race in 46 minutes, which she thought was a pretty good time. She pushed a stroller carrying her 3-year-old daughter, Addison, another fan of the Bridge Run.

“She’s been talking about this for three days,” Marfia said, laughing. “She’s so excited about finishing the race and going to play in the bounce house.”

More than 2,500 runners took part in the 10th annual Ringling Bridge Run. A pair of young Colorado triathletes took first place in the men’s and women’s divisions.

Lukas Verzbicas, 20, finished in 21 minutes and 1 second. His 21-year-old training partner, Erin Jones, finished in 22 minutes and 48 seconds.

“It was tough,” Jones said, “but we’re used to training on hills in Colorado Springs.”

Brentwood green?

Hundreds of runners started and finished at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. They ran across the Ringling Causeway and back in crisp 50-degree weather.

A Met Life blimp circled over Sarasota Bay.

Brentwood Elementary School, one of the biggest fans of the Bridge Run, brought more than 100 running students, teachers and parents. This year, though, the group had a different look.

“Red is such a common color that we wanted something with more visibility,” said Principal John Weida. “The debate was between bright orange or lime green, and the kids voted for lime green.”

Plenty of people gathered before dawn at the Van Wezel. They sipped coffee and jogged in place, waiting for the race to start.

Cindi Astacio wore a fleece vest, thick scarf and fingerless mittens.

“These are my Michael Jackson gloves,” she joked. “They were going to a garage sale, but I pulled them out this morning to stay warm.”

Colorful clubs at the Bridge Run included the Sarasota Scullers, who wore green T-shirts along with mismatched striped and polka-dot socks. The Venice Middle Young Marines wore red and gold.

One group wore purple T-shirts that said “Team Dr. Mac.”

“This is such a community event,” said Si McAninch, a pediatric dentist in Sarasota. “We just wanted to be part of it.”

Last modified: January 21, 2013
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