BEST MARATHON PHOTOS OF 2023

Overall winner Vaclav “Vance” Bursa breaks the tape in 41 minutes, 1 second to win April’s Seven Mile Bridge Run. BARRY GAUKEL/Keys Weekly
Photographer Aldo Diaz catches the instant the Marker 17 Marine boat lost its outdrive and spun out in the Modified V race of the 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix Sunday’s Modified V race. ALDO DIAZ/Contributed
Photographer Ryan Walker captures the terrifying moment the duo of Ervin Grant and Rob O’Connell were thrown from their cockpit as harrowing conditions challenged drivers in the 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix in April. No serious injuries were reported, but races were later canceled due to hazardous weather. RYAN WALKER/Contributed
Marathon Fire Rescue Capt. Joe Forcine, left, helps Steve, Miles and Liam Fortunato test out a real fire rescue hose. In March, 4-year-old Miles came face to face with Forcine for the first time since Forcine saved his life at just 7 months old. ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly
Ky’ondra White lets the applause soak in at Marathon High School’s graduation ceremonies in late May.
Firefighters Xavier Simancas, left, and Benjamin Lebish soak up the sunrise as they take on the Seven Mile Bridge Run in full gear. KRISTY YEIDER/Contributed
On July 19, the Marathon Wild Bird Center celebrated the successful release of a great white heron on Duck Key after an improbable recovery for the majestic bird. The heron underwent a procedure by renowned veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader to repair a fractured humerus, including external fixation of the fragile bone with metal pins. Less than eight weeks later, Dr. Geraldine Diethelm removed the surgical pins to complete the bird’s rehab process. ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly
Tyler Hill, left, and Hunter and Blakeleigh Pingleton get the full hands-on demonstration from the MCSO Bomb Squad at National Night Out in early August. ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly
Renowned artist and conservationist Wyland outlines a green sea turtle on a new mural at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center in May. The Marathon community later rallied to save another iconic piece of Wyland’s: ‘Whaling Wall #87,’ located in the Kmart plaza. ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly
Belle (Ella Dunn) marvels at an enchanted rose in Marathon High School’s spring 2023 production of the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast.” CATHY WALTERS/Contributed
A sailfish thrashes after being hooked during the second annual Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament. CONTRIBUTED
Though the Dolphins were up 14-12 in their Sept. 29 game against Florida Christian, they found their opponents 5 yards from the endzone with less than a minute to play. That is, until Fab Louis Jeune (2) sealed the game with a buzzer-beating goal line interception. BARRY GAUKEL/Keys Weekly
Known for his ability to bust resource violators throughout Monroe County, marine deputy Willie Guerra earned the Robin Tanner Public Service Award at the 2023 Best of Marathon Awards … and a custom trident for future patrols. DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.