Miami police ticket jogger running backward in street

April 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM
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MIAMI, April 13 (UPI) -- A jogger ticketed by Miami police for obstructing traffic while he was running backward in the street says he usually gets a more positive reaction than that.

Alex Mesa, 44, said he has been backward-jogging along the same route for years and gotten all kinds of attention for the odd ritual -- almost all of it encouraging.

"People honk, wave, drive next to me and ask questions," he told The Miami Herald. "They give me high-fives, scream my name and cheer me on."

On one recent run someone wasn't amused by the routine and called 911. Police responded and were prepared to issue Mesa a warning but he declined to heed it and was issued a $77.50 ticket.

Miami Beach Police Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said Friday it wasn't the direction Mesa was running that was the problem -- it was the location.

"You can run backwards, forwards, sideways, on a bike or on a skateboard, but you cannot obstruct traffic," Hernandez said. "He was running in-between traffic, and the officers were afraid he was going to cause an accident."

Asked why he prefers to run backward, Mesa said it has all kinds of benefits.

"It's harder, it's challenging, it's better for the legs, better for the brain, it keeps you going and it's healthier," Mesa said.

Mesa, who wears neon running clothes, said he's never had a problem sharing the road with motorists.

"I've been running for many years and I know I can't hold up traffic," he said. "I didn't hold up traffic, never."

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