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1400 Runners In Miami Half Marathon Missing Medals

MIAMI (CBS4) - The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday was hailed as a huge success, with its 25,000 runners raising $10 million for charity. But there was disappointment for some of the  competitors.

CBS4 has learned 1400 runners who participated in the Miami Half Marathon  were told they could not receive the coveted medals they expected because organizers ran out of them.

Heather Harkness and Desiree Morales had hoped to take home a badge after finishing the 13-mile race.

"It's your badge," said Morales. "You do it for the satisfaction, your training and you know you can do it."

Morales posted her feelings on Facebook, saying "Way to have your act together. I love running a half marathon and not getting a medal."

Morales' husband also did not get a medal.

"I was so upset but devastated for him," she told CBS4's Peter D'Oench. "It was his first half marathon, his first big race. This is a Miami race. It is a big race. It's very important and we try very hard. I ran through Foot Works. Everyone I spoke with was very upset."

Harkness said "I was disappointed when I crossed the finish line and was told there were no medals because they ran out. I was heartbroken because of all of the training I did for months and the hard work. How could you not have enough medals to go around? You know how many people are registered."

Harkness said, "I was really looking forward to wearing it all day yesterday to show my pride and joy that I did this race and I finished this race that I have never done before," Harkness said. "I have worked at numerous races and triathalons in the New England area and this never happened before."

General Manager and Race Director Javier Sanchez of the U.S. Road Sports and Entertainment Group said workers discovered during the event that they were not only short a shipment but they also had received some broken medals from the overseas manufacturer.

"Well it was actually short a shipment," he said. "We started finding boxes with some broken medals through the event itself and we started taking inventory with the participants. This was not anything deliberate or cuts or anything. We are proud that this is a world class event and we take pride with everything we do with participants."

Sanchez could not say how the manufacturer made the mistake but said that was being investigated. He also said that organizers had a record of all the runners who finished after a certain time and did not receive medals as a result and said they would be receiving their medals by USPS or "the appropriate shipping organization" in the next 8 to 10 weeks.

The also put out a news release on Monday afternoon saying that all of those runners without medals would be offered a 50% discount in the Miami Marathon on January 25, 2015.

"They absolutely earned these medals," said Sanchez. "It's an incredible thing. Everyone deserves to have a medal and will be given one. We are going to make sure that everyone gets a medal. We take a lot of pride in these events. This was very difficult and it was also important to see that so many people participating had a great experience."

Harkness said she looked forward to receiving her medal but added, "Getting it in the mail is not the same thing as getting it after you crossed the finish line."

Javier Sanchez

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