Receiving Cheers at Sarasota with New Names

04/05/2018 - 13:18

By Mary Marcia Brown

Amy.jpg As the lead singer of the late 90s group, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce’ Knowles belted out the lyrics, “Say my name, say my name,” on more than one occasion. As competing athletes in area road races, runners often find motivation in hearing their own names called out by cheering spectators during events.

While it is likely that Beyonce’s lyrics could be heard along the recent Sarasota Music Half Marathon & Rockin’ 10k course in Florida, it is likely that some of the participating runners didn’t hear their own names being called out. That’s because spectators often rely on the boldly printed names that appear on the front of race bib numbers to learn the names of approaching athletes.

It’s not that the Sarasota Music Half Marathon didn’t have names on their bibs, it’s just that many of the names were not the actual names of the runners wearing the bibs. Allow me to explain.

The day before Super Bowl Sunday, my dad and I pulled into packet pick-up for the half marathon, and approached the pre-registered runner table to obtain our bibs. After using the computer to locate my pre-assigned bib number, I called my number out to the volunteer behind the table and she, in turn, handed me a bib. The name “AMY” boldly appeared in the middle of the bib.

“Oh, that’s not my bib,” I told the volunteer, pointing to the three-letter name beneath the three-digit number. “My name is Mary Marcia,” I said.

“That’s your bib,” the lady responded. “We just had a printing problem with some of the bibs,” she explained.

“Come on, Amy!” my dad yelled, walking into the running store where we were directed to get our race shirts.

I laughed as I joined my dad, and then asked to see his bib. Where one would have expected to see the name “Will” beneath his number, a boldly printed, “CHARLES” appeared instead. The laughter increased as we, “Charles and Amy” paraded past displays of the latest running shoes.

The next morning, while football fans were writing down the expected point spread for the impending game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots, I was scratching out the name, “AMY” and beginning to write “Mary Marcia” on my bib instead. After soon realizing, that there was not quite enough space on my bib to accommodate my whole name, I opted for “Mary Mo” instead. After all, it was the Sarasota MUSIC Half Marathon, and who doesn’t know Deadeye Dick’s musical classic, “New Age Girl”?

As I scribed the name “Mary Mo” beneath number 543, my imaginative mind’s ear could hear the spectators singing the name-bearing lyrics as I ran past during the 13.1-mile morning trek. Fast forward to the end of the race and I can report, that not one spectator audibly cheered for “Mary Mo” that morning. Of course, thanks to the music-themed half marathon, I later learned that the lyrics are actually, “Mary Moon” and not “Mary Mo”.

Regardless, whether or not there were cheers heard for, Charles, Amy, Will, Mary Mo, or Mary Moon, my dad and I had a wonderful time at the Sarasota race. The weather was crisp and clear. Bands, singers, musicians, and DJs lined the streets throughout the entire course. Homeowners sat on their front lawns, clapping, cheering, and dancing as more than 2500 runners ran by, and my dad and I both finished injury-free (with an age group award in tow for my dad).

After the race, we ran into fantastic fellow running friends, and then enjoyed a wonderful post-race sushi lunch at a little “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant we were fortunate enough to find just a couple miles from the finish line. The day was made complete by making a surprise visit with my in-laws and we enjoyed their “home town” football team’s Super Bowl victory.

Fortunately, for Nick Foles and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, their jersey printers did not have the same challenges as the bib printers for the Sarasota Music Half. So, if Foles happened to break into Beyonce’s “Say my name” lyrics post Super Bowl victory, fans could actually refer to his jersey to congratulate the stellar quarterback by his actual name -- Foles, and not “Charles.”

(Mary Marcia is a runner and fitness professional navigating her way through the unpredictable terrain of life. She is President of the non-profit organization, the PHEEL GOOD Foundation, and she can be reached at


Mary Marcia and her dad, Will, post-race.

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