Est. 25K runners from all 50 states and 80 Countries to experience weekend events and picturesque South Florida race
Fifteen years ago, the Miami Marathon was born almost by accident. A 12-year-old double amputee from California named Rudy Garcia Tolson, in town visiting Co-Founder Frankie Ruiz and his high school cross country team in 2002, said something to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz about wanting to return to Miami to run in a Marathon.
There was just one problem. There wasn’t a Marathon in Miami.
So the Mayor’s office urged Ruiz to start one, which led Ruiz to contact future partner Robert Pozo, who had been trying to get an elite South Florida distance race off the ground. The Mayor’s office helped them work through all the red tape and civic cooperation they needed and the Miami Marathon And Half Marathon was born.
The race that began with 3,400 runners in 2003 will now celebrate its 15th Anniversary with an entirely different look as it returns to the streets of downtown Miami, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove on January 29, 2017.
An International field of around 25,000 runners will be at the start line and about 65% of them will be from outside Miami-Dade County, 22% from outside the United States. All 50 states will be represented along with 80 countries. And Rudy Garcia Tolson will return to Miami to participate for his first time in the race that was his grand idea discussed with the Mayor when he was just a kid and now is a reality for so many people who dream of athletic accomplishments.
“I had a vision of it growing to more than 20,000 runners and I believed it,” Ruiz said as he reflected on the birth of the race. ” It’s going to keep becoming even more of an International event with eventually more than 50% of the field coming from outside the United States. It will reflect the city itself. This is a city of immigrants and visitors alike.”
Ruiz doesn’t own the race anymore. He and Pozo sold it to a company named U.S. Road Sports in 2008 so they could get more marketing support to grow the event. U.S. Road Sports took it to the current level and sold it in 2014 to Life Time Fitness, a health and lifestyle company which owns 124 fitness centers around the country, including one in Boca Raton, and produces several distance races and triathlons.
The 15-year anniversary milestone is special and the event has identified about 60 runners who have participated in every one of the 15 races. They will receive a commemorative jacket, attend a VIP event and receive other special acknowledgements.
The marathon will begin at 6 a.m. outside the American Airlines Arena and wind through Miami Beach, Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove and Brickell Avenue before it finishes at Bayfront Park with an always jubilant post-event celebration.
More than 5,000 South Florida middle school students will again participate in Kids Run Miami at 11 a.m. on Marathon Sunday. The 1.2 mile run from the county courthouse on Flagler Street to the Marathon finish line culminates a 15-week program designed to promote fitness to kids. Another 2,500 participants will take part in the annual Tropical 5K, a great family event held Saturday morning, January 28, at 7:30 a.m. along 3.1 early miles of Sunday’s Miami Marathon And Half Marathon course.
The Miami Marathon & Half Marathon is the fourth event of the six-race Florida Storm Series, which challenges runners to participate in three to five racing events in Florida during the 2016-2017 season. Other events include the recent Michelob ULTRA Fort Lauderdale 13.1 and Turkey Day Run Miami, the Tropical 5K, the Michelob ULTRA Miami Beach 13.1 on March 5, 2017 and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon on March 19, 2017.
For more information or to register for the Miami Marathon, visit themiamimarathon.com or facebook.com/MiamiMarathon. More information about Life Time Athletic Events is available at EventsByLifeTime.com, on Twitter @lifetimefitness and the Life Time Athletic Events Facebook page.