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From Running USA reports
MIAMI – (January 21, 2011) – On Sunday, January 30, Michael Wardian is returning to Miami to defend his title at the 2011 ING Miami Marathon®, with plans to use the race as the kind of springboard that propelled him to seven marathon victories around the country last year.
« I won a bunch of marathons last year and it all started with a really good run in Miami, » said Wardian, who also won the USA 50K title, finished third in a 151-mile, six-day race across the Sahara Desert with food, supplies and bedding on his back and won the World 100K Championships bronze medal.
The Virginian will be ready to go for gold in Miami once again, although a runner-up finish at the recent Disney Marathon did not come without consequences.
« I ran OK at Disney but had a problem with my leg, » he says. « I had a little bit of a pull and had a lot of pain during the race. I ran a 2:27 which is not one of my better times, but it was better than my Miami time last year. »
Getting to last year’s ING Miami Marathon proved to be the greatest obstacle for the 36-year-old who works full-time in international shipping. After an 80-hour work week spent moving aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, he won the ING Miami Marathon less than 24 hours after arriving in South Florida.
But the busy married father of two small children is used to a packed schedule. Wardian rises at 4:45am to get everything packed into each day: training runs of 15 to 30 miles, a full-time job and Dad duties.
That doesn’t include his weekend jaunts to run in marathons, ultra marathons and other challenging Man vs. Nature-type events. In 2010, he crisscrossed the world from Big Sur to Morocco to South Africa to Boston to the Sahara.
« I have a great wife and a great boss, » Wardian continued. « I couldn’t do any of this without their understanding. And my sponsors also play a big role. »
On tap for 2011: defending his ING Miami Marathon title, reaching the Olympic Marathon Trials for the 2012 London Games and two South Africa runs, the 56-mile Comrades Marathon, the world’s oldest and largest ultra-marathon, and the Capetown Two Oceans Marathon.
A Martin Luther King Day 10K warm-up assured the Virginia resident that his injured leg is ready to go.
« I feel ready to run fast in Miami, » he says. « I want to go for the Olympic Trials standard. Anything under 2:19 will do, and I’m going for that. »
Wardian won’t be staying long in Miami after his run. Two days later, he will be rushing up 86 flights of stairs in New York City’s Empire State Building Run-Up, just another event to cross off his bucket list.
The elite runners expected to challenge Wardian follow with marathon PRs.
- Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayehu, 25, Ethiopia, 2:11:50
- Mitch Guirard, 25, West Palm Beach, FL, 1:09:44 (half-marathon)
- Ronnie Holassie, 39, Miramar, FL, 2:13:03
- Peter Kemboi, 33, Kenya, 2:09:21
- David Marruti Opiro, 34, Kenya, 2:12:41
- Girma A. Segni, 25, Ethiopia, 2:26:39