Marathon Spotlight: Miami Marathon
Deciding which marathon to run next can be tough, considering there is a pretty big list of fantastic races to choose from in every city in the U.S. When you are traveling for a race, you most definitely want to choose to visit a city that offers exciting attractions to enjoy before or after the big day. If you are looking for a race that includes unforgettable scenery, fun entertainment throughout, and is relatively flat and great for a shiny new PR, the Miami Marathon is absolutely your best choice! Not only does it offer a full marathon course, but there is a half marathon and 5k races to choose from as well. Considering the city of Miami itself is known for incredible beaches, an attractive nightlife, and almost perfect weather year-round, it makes for a great runcation! Marathon weekend is a big deal if you are a local runner, and is full of different events for out-of-towners.
The expo for the marathon weekend is three days long and includes a variety of vendors and activities. From Thursday to Saturday you can enjoy walking around the Mana Wynwood venue that is located in the middle of the fast-growing Art District of Miami. The area is an exciting place to walk around before or after the expo to check out all of the graffiti art from very talented local artists. From footwear and apparel to nutrition and healthy foods, there are over 100 vendors to check out at the expo. There are also fitness classes, including boxing, core exercises, and yoga. Once you try out the classes and shop around for discounted running shoes, apparel and fuel, you can pick up your bib and race shirt and be on your way to a fun shakeout run in the evening.
The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon race courses run along the most scenic routes of the city. Running through the different parts of Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, and Key Biscayne, it is difficult to get bored during these long races. At almost every area there are groups of spectators with live music, cheerleaders, and even supporters offering refreshing popsicles! Aid stations are situated perfectly and volunteers efficiently hand out water and Gatorade at each.
Biscayne Boulevard to Miami Beach
Corrals line up at the start of the race along Biscayne Boulevard in front of the American Airlines Arena, which is right in the middle of the massive condominiums with its residents cheering the runners on for a 6 AM start. For the first three and a half miles, runners race along the MacArthur Causeway to the entrance of Miami Beach. This causeway may look large from far, but the incline is very slight so it almost feels like you are not climbing at all, especially when you are distracted by the amazing views of the Port of Miami and the lines of cruise ships along the majority of these miles.
South Beach to Venetian Islands
The quietest part of the race is probably miles 4 though 10. Although there are not many crowds, runners can be entertained by the folks still walking out of nightclubs and diners who may or may not be a little tipsy from late-night drinking. Venetian Islands is a couple of miles worth of a mix of beautiful older homes and newly built modern mansions. A small causeway at the end of the islands leads you back into Downtown Miami.
Besides the finish line, the loudest part of the course is miles 11 through 13. Large crowds and live music give the half marathoners a jolt of energy to finish strong and the marathoners a push to begin their second half. After the break away point the marathoners continue with a more empty road, since they make up only about 20-25% of the runners. Continuing along through mile 14 and 15, the route takes you from the busy business side of town to a more residential area. During these miles you will pass the brand new mall, Brickell City Centre.
Coconut Grove to Key Biscayne
The quiet neighborhoods of the Grove last for about 6 to 7 miles with some random crowds around at the breakfast spots cheering on the runners. The end of these miles is usually when most marathoners hit a wall, since 20-22 miles is the longest most have ran for their training runs. Good thing a more scenic area is around the corner from here! The two miles in and out of Key Biscayne are ran along the beach which gives a refreshing start to that last 5k of the race.
Brickell Avenue to the Finish
What usually feels like the longest part of the race goes by rather quickly running along this street straight down to the finish line. Back in the business district of Miami, runners will be pushed along by the crowds outside of the condos and offices, which grow as you get closer to the end. One last small bridge is all that is left before you reach the 26-mile marker, and then it is a fun sprint to the finish!
It is practically a huge party after the finish, with lines of vendors and tents of food, drinks, and recovery tools. Runners can enjoy sampling and relaxing with the live music on the stage. One aspect of the Miami Marathon that runners look forward to is the medal “bling”, which is different every year. Most years the medals have included artwork on the ribbons created by the talented local artists, and the medal itself is always a spinning, shiny piece! Besides the medals and enjoyable scenery, the Miami Marathon is a great course to put on your race bucket list! It is a flat and fast course to achieve a new PR, and on top of that, you can enjoy a lovely vacation in the city.
- The Miami Marathon, Website ,