Last weekend, a horrified visitor from Michigan filmed as a Miami Beach garbage crew trashed hundreds of unopened gallons of water left over after the Miami Marathon. The man couldn't help but think of the lead water crisis in Flint back in his home state while wondering if race organizers couldn't have conserved the water somehow.
Now Frankie Ruiz, a cofounder of the marathon and preeminent local runner and coach, says the water disposal was a mistake. Ruiz apologized in an email to New Times and promised to change policies for next year's race to avoid the problem.
"I firmly accept responsibility for our hired clean-up crew mistakenly discarding about $300 worth of our purchased gallon water," Ruiz writes. "Rest assured that we will be doing our part procedurally to ensure that this mishap doesn’t occur again at the Miami Marathon or at any of our running or triathlon events."
Ruiz notes that the marathon has a partnership with Move for Hunger and Feeding South Florida and that the water was meant to be donated to those groups. He says the race this year donated more than 1,500 gallons of water, as well as 6,852 pounds of produce and 2,281 pounds of baked goods, to the charities.
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So why was some of the water trashed instead of donated? Ruiz says it's still not clear. "Without making a hundred excuses for our clean-up crews as to why this happened, the point is that it happened, and it should not have," he says.
Here's Ruiz's full statement:
Dear Editor: Thank you Miami New Times for covering the wasted water story of the Miami Marathon. I appreciate you helping us all be better at what we do. Those that know me know that I will take every opportunity to acknowledge my mistakes or any intentional or non-intentional wrongdoing by any organization I am associated with. This situation is no different. Yes! I firmly accept responsibility for our hired clean-up crew mistakenly discarding about $300 worth of our purchased gallon water at the Mile Marker 7 aid/water station. Without making a hundred excuses for our clean-up crews as to why this happened, the point is that it happened and it SHOULD NOT have. This water was supposed to be an additional part of the donation we made to Move for Hunger which in turn delivered it to the pantry at Feeding South Florida for distribution to our community. Rest assured that we will be doing our part procedurally to ensure that this mishap doesn’t occur again at the Miami Marathon or at any of our running or triathlon events. I would also like to take this moment to thank Move for Hunger and Feeding South Florida for working with us on Sunday once again to collect and transport our donation. As I said above, the water mistakenly discarded SHOULD have been added to the donation from the excess of our other 22 water stations and finish line food area to our partner organizations: 12,026 pounds of water (over 1500 gallons); 6,852 pounds of produce; 2,281 pounds of baked goods. In closing, I reiterate that I am sorry for the discarded water and I remain committed for as long as I am a part of the Miami Marathon to continue using the event to make the 305 a better place to live and visit. Congratulations to the thousands of runners and middle school students who crossed our finish line this past weekend, I humbly thank you for allowing me to be a part of your amazing accomplishments. See you in 2017 for the 15th edition. — Frankie Ruiz - Co-Founder Miami Marathon & Proud Miamian