On January 30 2011, a record field of 21,116 runners from 79 countries and all 50 US states took to the streets of Miami for the annual marathon and half marathon.
Fastest of the marathoners, in 2011 was Ethiopian Tesfaye Alemayehu who finished more than five minutes ahead of 2009 winner Benazzouz Slimani. Winning his first career marathon, Alemayehu finished in 2:12:57, only 35 seconds off the course record. 2010 winner Michael Wardian from Virginia, USA finished third.
The 2011 women's race was won by Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus who finished in 2:44:38.
Care to take a shot at beating those times? The 2015 Miami Marathon will be held on 25 January next year.
The start line is at American Airlines Arena – a large sports arena home to the Miami Heat basketball team. From here the course continues over Biscayne Bay for a little tour of Miami Beach before it returns via Venetian Causeway across a series of artificially made islands with some of Florida’s most expensive homes. Back on the Miami side of the bay, the course loops through downtown Miami and Coconut Grove and finishes close to the start at Bayfront Park. The course never strays far away from the coast, which means that it stays nice and flat. The marathon and the half marathon both start and finish in the same place and share the same route for about 20 km.
The backdrop of your athletic efforts will consist of paradise-like beaches, enormous cruise ships, breathtaking ocean views and luxurious jet-set mansions. A number of Hollywood directors have shot movies in the tropical Miami scenery, and the marathon course lets you pass some of the movie locations. Among many others, the fast-moving '2 Fast 2 Furious', the legendary gangster movie 'Scarface' and the pastel-shaded 1980s TV show 'Miami Vice' have been shot in the streets and on the beaches of Miami. The marathon organisers highly encourage Miami citizens to come and support the persistent athletes. There are special cheering zones with extra entertainment for both runners and onlookers.
Find out more about registration and other info at the official Miami Marathon website here.