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Date : 13th November, 2017
Time : 1h 5’ 47”
Number of runners : 25
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2342396598
Unless you’re a resident, your image of Miami probably involves long white beaches, art deco buildings and a glamourous night life. In fact, you’re likely thinking about Miami Beach – which, strictly speaking, isn’t Miami but a separate city with its own mayor and police force.
Miami Beach’s pre-eminence in the tourist mind is no doubt largely due to its ‘radiant sun, surf and sand’ plus ‘its rich history as an entertainment and cultural destination’. As its official website likes to put it. However, I suspect it has also benefited from being the setting for a number of TV series ranging from The Jackie Gleason Show to Miami Vice (pls see Facts & Stats below for more detail.) I even understand that it’s a place where, should it be of one of your life goals, you can now keep up with the Kardashians.
The net result is that 55% of Miami’s 15.7 million visitors in 2016 – the second highest of any US city after New York – overnighted in Miami Beach. And most of them probably stayed in or near South Beach – the 2.5 square mile neighbourhood in the south of Miami Beach that arguably epitomises that Miami magic.
A relatively small, but growing, number of those tourists – 339 000 in 2016 – are Brits. Now, as everyone knows, faced with sun, sea, sand and bucket sized cocktails (the only size I saw while I was there), we British are a model of deco-rum (drinking) and sensible behaviour.
However, despite this famous self-restraint, we do occasionally get into a bit of a pickle (as we like to say) and the odd passport has been known to go missing. There may even have been an instance or two where that ‘good idea at the time’ has seem less inspired with the benefit of hindsight and the clarity that comes with waking up in a prison cell.
Partly as a result of these unfortunate and isolated incidents, there is a sizable British consulate in Miami. And a number of them were good enough to join us at Flamingo Park for the run.
Flamingo Park, in the heart of South Beach, is a rather excellent public facility of the kind that contributes to the USA being no.1 in the world of international sport. (How do I know the US is no. 1? Because the Greatest Sporting Nation (GSN) website, which does an annual ranking of the world’s best sporting nations based on results from 1250 events across 176 different tournaments and 83 different sports, says so. And how do I know you can rely on GSN as the definitive ranking? Because, I am, ahem, one of its founders…)
Flamingo Park is full of tennis courts, swimmers, and people playing those American sports that I think I really like – basketball and America football – but am never 100% sure because whenever I try to watch them on telly they’ve stopped for a time out or a commercial break.
At this juncture, I can sense US readers bristling slightly. What about cricket I hear them asking? That absurd sport where a game can last for 5 days and still end in a draw.
But cricket is, of course, entirely dissimilar. It stops for lunch and tea. And, in between meals, it stops for rain.* Which offers spectators the opportunity to withdraw to the local pubs and bars. And generally behave like they would in, say, South Beach. Without the sunshine and blue skies. (Obvs.)
The run had been organised by Matt Rosenberg of the South Beach Track Club. The Club runs Monday Madness which is led by Matt and Mark Gomes, who is the World Masters 400m Champion and member of the World Record 4x400m Masters 2017 Penn Relays team. (Not quite sure why the arty photo of the 3 of us – below – is in black and white.)
But don’t let Mark’s slightly scary CV put you off. Monday Madness is a high quality work out combined with a friendly atmosphere and it’s open to everyone.
It’s held, and get that MENSA application ready if you’ve already worked this out, on a Monday. If you’re ever in South Beach on the appropriate day of the week, you should definitely go along.
(The wonderful thing about writing in a digital environment is that you can type a sentence referencing MENSA and then just pop off to their website and take their online workout. Give it a go – its designed to make you feel good about yourself. With, just possibly, the secondary goal of motivating you to take one of their supervised IQ tests.)
I digress. Again.
We, on the other hand, weren’t taking part in Monday Madness. We were going for a run. Matt led 25 of us once round the track and we then headed south from 11th street. At about 9th street, I realised that my Garmin wasn’t recording the distance so I had to reset it. And, since my Garmin provides the evidence that I’ve actually covered 10km, we all had to run about 800m further than would otherwise be the case. Sorry everyone!
At 5th St we headed west to the shoreline and then rounded the southern tip of the island past South Pointe Park as far as South Pointe Pier. Before turning north up Ocean Drive to Lummus Park and the Art Deco historic district, which, since we were running after sunset, was all lit up in its full glory.
Stopping at the Miami Beach clock and various other locations for photo opportunities, we made it as far north as the Boardwalk before turning back and finishing with a couple of laps in Flamingo Park.
It was a great route and a great way to see South Beach.
By the time we finished it was after 1 am UK time, and many hours since I’d got up for my flight, so I headed back to my hotel. Regrettably, this meant missing the core strengthening routines at the end of that night’s Monday Madness. In my defence, I did have another 5 runs, and more travel than I cared to contemplate, to come in the following week. Excuses, excuses, I know…
It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Matt and Kristy from the British Consulate. And to Keith, Steve, Sandy, Hilary, David, Steven Valerie, Kevin, Jimster, Matt and Sasank and all the others who joined the run (more pics below). I hope you will all keep in touch and think about coming over to London on July 4th 2020 for the London leg of Run the World!
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*Joking aside, I love cricket, American football and basketball. And I’m sure they don’t feel they need any advice from me. However, fwiw, at the professional level I think they’d all benefit from the ball being in play for a higher percentage of the lapsed time between the start and the finish of the game.
Facts & Stats
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.
Miami is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida in the southeastern United States. As the seat of Miami-Dade County, the municipality is the principal, central, and the most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area and part of the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the eighth-most populous and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S., with a population of around 5.5 million.
Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha−World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbesmagazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises. Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the “Cruise Capital of the World”, has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world. It accommodates some of the world’s largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines. Metropolitan Miami is a major tourism hub in the American South for international visitors, ranking number two in the U.S. after New York City.
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. As of the 2010 census, Miami Beach had a total population of 87,779. It has been one of America’s pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century.
In 1979, Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world] and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The Historic District is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the East, Lenox Court on the West, 6th Street on the South and Dade Boulevard along the Collins Canal to the North. The movement to preserve the Art Deco District’s architectural heritage was led by former interior designer Barbara Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.
In the 1930s, an architectural revolution came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture to the Beach. South Beach claims to be the world’s largest collection of Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture.
By 1940, the beach had a population of 28,000. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Corps took command over Miami Beach. That year, tourism brought almost two million people to South Beach.
In 1964, South Beach became even more famous when Jackie Gleason brought his weekly variety series, The Jackie Gleason Show to the area for taping, a rarity in the industry. Beginning in the mid 1960s and continuing through the 1980s, South Beach was used as a retirement community with most of its ocean-front hotels and apartment buildings filled with elderly people living on small, fixed incomes. This period also saw the introduction of the “cocaine cowboys,” drug dealers who used the area as a base for their illicit drug activities. Scarface, released in 1983, typifies this activity. In addition, television show Miami Vice used South Beach as a backdrop for much of its filming because of the area’s raw and unique visual beauty. A somewhat recurring theme of early Miami Vice episodes was thugs and drug addicts barricading themselves in utterly run-down, almost ruin-like empty buildings. Only minor alterations had to be made for these scenes because many buildings in South Beach really were in such poor condition at the time.
While many of the unique Art Deco buildings, such as the New Yorker Hotel, were lost to developers in the years before 1980, the area was saved as a cohesive unit by Barbara Capitman and a group of activists who spearheaded the movement to place almost one square mile of South Beach on the National Register of Historic Places. The Miami Beach Architectural District was designated in 1979.
Before the days of Miami Vice, South Beach was considered a very poor area with a very high rate of crime. Today, it is considered one of the wealthiest and most prosperous commercial areas on the beach. Despite this, poverty and crime still exist in some isolated places surrounding the area.
In 2009, Natalie O’Neill of the Miami New Times said, “Until the 1980s, Miami Beach was a peculiar mix of criminals, Cubans, and little old ladies. Then the beautiful people moved in.” In the late 1980s, a renaissance began in South Beach, with an influx of fashion industry professionals moving into the area. In 1989, Irene Marie purchased the Sun Ray Apartments (famous for the chainsaw scene in Scarface) located on Ocean Drive and opened Irene Marie Models.
Thomas Kramer is credited with starting the construction boom in South Beach, driving the gentrification of the area. It is now a popular living destination for the wealthy. Condominium units in the upscale high rises sell for millions. There are a number of vocal critics of the developments. The high-rise and high-density buildings are derided as a “concrete jungle”. However, even critics concede that the development has changed the area into a pedestrian friendly, low-crime neighborhood.
Another unique aesthetic attribute of South Beach is the presence of several colorful and unique stands used by Miami Beach’s lifeguards on South Beach. After Hurricane Andrew, Architect William Lane donated his design services to the city and added new stops on design tours in the form of lifeguard towers. His towers instantly became symbols of the revived City of Miami Beach.
World Bank Data
Here’s the latest World Bank data for the USA – with the year 2000 as a comparison.
GDP $18.6 tn 2016 $10.3 tn 2000
Population 323 m 2016 282 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 100% 2015 103 % 2000
CO2 Emissions** 16.5 2014 20.2 2000
% below poverty line*** NA
Life expectancy at birth 78.7 yrs 2015 76.6 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $56180 2016 $36070 2000
*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students
** Metric tons per capita
***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)
Greatest Sporting Nation Data
Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how the USA performed in the global sporting arena in 2016:
Global Cup – 1st
Per Capita Cup – 38th
The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.