The Fitbit Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon is one of the city's most anticipated sporting events that has grown from its humble beginnings in 1977 when it was known as the Orange Bowl Marathon with a mere 600 participants to a signature event with over 20,000 runners from over 70 countries and all 50 U.S. States.
Runners compete on one of the world's most beautiful courses, if we say so ourselves, against the backdrop of our scenic beaches, iconic art deco architecture, breathtaking skyline and Biscayne Bay. And all along the course, for the delight of spectators and runners alike, there is live entertainment galore to round up the fantastic tropical vibe.
The race is open to all including athletes with disabilities and is an official Boston Marathon qualifier.
The Miami Marathon has had its ups and downs throughout the years, with some of the early year courses passing through not so spectacular terrain, but it has certainly come a long way and reinvented itself maximizing on everything our fantastic city has to offer, in January/February no less!
It has become so popular that besides the 42-kilometer Marathon Route, extra events have been added to accomodate all levels of interested participants and running enthusiasts. For the 2020 Marathon there will be:
- The Marathon
- The Half-Marathon
- The Tropical 5K Run: the warm up race on Saturday starts in Watson Island, over the MacArthur Causeway and ends at Nikki Beach
- Kids Run: Participating middle schools run 25 miles over 15 weeks culminating with the last 1.2 miles being run on the actual Marathon course on the day of the Miami Marathon
Quick Reference: Miami Marathon
Miami Marathon Course
The 42 km route is a single loop and not a very tough one with only a handful of bridges along the course with a very slight incline.
The start line is at American Airlines Arena. The start zone is along Biscayne Boulevard in the area between the Arena and the Freedom Tower. For runners, gear check however, is three blocks south by the finish line at the north end of Bayfront Park.
The course takes you from the heart of downtown Miami over the MacArthur Causeway to South Beach with fantastic views of the Port of Miami, Watson Island, and some of the "Millionaire's Row" islands: Hibiscus, Palm and Star Islands. Once in South Beach, the course continues along the waterfront via Ocean Drive and the iconic Art Deco District...
...and back to the Mainland via the Venetian Causeway, with more breathtaking vistas.
Back in the mainland, it is back through the highrises of the downtown and Brickell Business Districts and then on to the Rickenbacker Causeway for some more of the best Miami skyline views in the city then heading towards the more laid back streets of Coconut Grove before doubling back northwards towards the finish line at Bayfront Park.
The entire course route is as follows (subject to change, look for street closures and roped off areas which will be clearly marked indicating the course): Race Start - American Airlines Arena North End --> Northbound on Biscayne Boulevard--> Over the MacArthur Causeway --> Southbound on Alton Road --> Eastbound on South Pointe Drive --> Northbound on Ocean Drive --> Westbound on 14th Street --> Northbound on Washington Avenue --> Westbound on Dade Boulevard --> Northbound on Prairie Avenue --> Westbound on 28th Street --> Southbound on Meridian Avenue --> Westbound on Dade Boulevard --> Over the Venetian Causeway --> On to 15th Street --> Southbound on North Miami Avenue --> Loops around the Miami Dade County Court House: Westbound on NW 1st Street --> Southbound on NW 1st Avenue --> Eastbound on West Flagler Street --> Southbound on North Miami Avenue (this is the Half-Marathon breakaway point --> Over the South Miami Avenue Bridge --> Loops to head towards Brickell Avenue via: SW 1st Avenue --> SE 1st Avenue --> Eastbound SE 6th Street --> Southbound on Brickell Avenue --> Over the Rickenbacker Causeway Eastbound towards Key Biscayne (on the Westbound lanes) --> Turnpoint Under the William Powell Bridge --> Westbound on the Rickebacker Causeway (on the Eastbound lanes) --> Southbound on US1 --> Southbound on S Miami Avenue --> Southbound on S Bayshore Drive --> Westbound on McFarlane Road --> Southbound on Main Highway --> Right on Commodore Plaza --> Eastbound on Grand Avenue --> Right on Mary Street --> Northbound on Bayshore Drive --> Left on Aviation Drive --> North on Tigertail Avenue --> Loop around Shore Drive S, W, N, E --> Northbound on South Miami Avenue --> Over the South Miami Avenue Bridge --> Eastbound on SE 1st Street --> Northbound on Biscayne Boulevard Finish Line - Bayfront Park
Where to Watch The Miami Marathon?
Watching near the finish area in Bayfront Park is of course where that thrilling air of excitement and expectation is at its peak, but also where the crowds concentrate. Bayfront Park bleachers will be open at 6:30 am, and throughout the morning there will be a Carnival Fun Zone Finish Festival.
Cheer Zones are also set up along the course with plenty of live entertainment, refreshments and a festive atmosphere to boost runners to the finish line as they pass along and refuel.
Cheer zones are set up at:
- Miami Beach - Washington and 17th Street
- Omni/Downtown area - Northeast 15th and Biscayne Boulevard
- Brickell Medical Plaza - 2660 Brickell Avenue
To watch the runners near the start line you will have to be an early bird. Runners will be arriving before their start times of 6:00 am and they will be assembling and warming up along Biscayne Boulevard south of the start point of the race.
If you are in South Beach, you can watch the runners as they pass along Ocean Drive. In Coconut Grove, watch along the waterfront on Bayshore Drive.
Where to Stay?
For runners, you can choose to stay near the start/finish lines in downtown Miami. Hotels within easy walk to Bayfront Park and American Airlines Arena include:
If you prefer to stay near the beach, getting to the start/finish lines is easy with the shuttles ($20 round trip) that will be running to and from the Miami Beach Convention Center starting at 4:00 am on race day. Here are some great picks:
- Hampton Inn Miami Beach - Art Deco hotel 3-minute walk from the beach and 8 minute walk to the Convention Center, great value
- The National - Beachfront, 8 minute-walk to the Convention Center, iconic pool to relax after the race!
- Marriott Vacation Club Pulse - on Ocean Drive, watch the runners pass by, 5 minute drive to the Convention Center
- The Cavalier - Boutique Art Deco gem on Ocean Drive and on the course of the Marathon, 6 minute drive to the Convention Center
Miami Marathon 2020
When: Sunday, February 9, 2020, starts 6:00 am - See schedule here
Start: American Airlines Arena
End: Bayfront Park
The Carnival Fun Zone Finish Festival in Bayfront Park is from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
How Much: FREE for spectators!
More Info: www.themiamimarathon.com/
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