Remembering Gary

The big race day had finally arrived. After months of planning, promoting, and attention given to every detail, our Annual 5k was once again upon us. Unlike the previous year this morning’s weather couldn’t have been better- the sky was clear, the temp beautiful and the peaceful ocean creating the perfect backdrop for a scenic beach race.
The registration table where I was stationed began to get busy. It was a stressful but exciting flurry of activity as racers pinned on their bibs and greeted one another. Before we finished up completely I was pulled to sing the national anthem, the kickoff of our race. I was filled with pride as the song ended and the runners took their place at the starting line.
Once the race began, I started my next job for the day- 50/50 raffle ticket seller and cheerleader to the runners starting to make their way towards the finish line.
As Mark, my husband and race director, ran past me looking panicked and clutching the AED, I knew the day had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. I could see some of our emergency personnel off to the side of the broad walk in the distance as I walked closer in that direction. Before I could get too much closer, Mark came running back towards me. He was on his way to our timing company staff to get information on a fallen runner.
That fallen runner we learned was Gary Shimminger, and he had just completed our race before taking his final breath overlooking that peaceful ocean.
The day became a blur after that for most of us present. Gary’s wife Karen and son Scott were also at the race and notified right away. We learned that Gary was a beloved retired Miami Beach Police Captain, dedicated husband and loving father. He also loved running. Scott recalled his father being so excited to race that morning.
None of us could have predicted what would have happened that day. While we didn’t know Gary personally, we have certainly gotten a sense for who he was. A good man with a sense of humor and great love for his friends and family. We are so sorry for the loss everyone has felt since his death.
Scott and Karen graciously came to our fall 10k/5k race and will be with us again for our beach race to honor Gary. Please join us to celebrate the life and legacy our fallen runner has left behind.