Celebrating the 21st Annual Miami Marathon

Gabriella Alvarez, Copy Editor

Every year, runners make their way to the Miami-Dade Arena to participate in the Miami Marathon. From here, they run their chosen distance with both passion and determination. 

The Miami Marathon was established in 2003 and founded by Frankie Ruiz. Ruiz found inspiration in  Rudy Garcia-Tolson — an amputee who competed in triathlons — and later got the opportunity to meet him in Miami. Gaining local attention, Garcia-Tolson was asked to take part in the Miami Marathon. However, since no such marathon existed, Ruiz took it upon himself to make a change.

Now, people have the chance to engage in various running activities at the Miami Marathon. On Jan. 27, the Diaper Derby will occur, where babies compete by crawling across a 10-foot mat. On Jan. 29, the bulk of events will take place. For children, there is the Miami Kids Mile and  Kids Run Miami. The Miami Kids Mile is only open to kids ages 6 to 13 in schools not a part of the Life Time Kids Run Miami program. However, the Kids Run Miami permits any Miami-Dade County student to try tackling their first marathon. 

In the heart of South Beach, the Tropical 5k is the perfect light race for runners. Reigning as the most popular course is the Miami Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile run, spotlighting the tropical beauty of Miami Beach and the rest of the city for those ages 14 and up. Still, the main event is the Marathon; the 26.2-mile Boston-qualifying course attracts runners ages 16 and older from all throughout Florida. 

“My family has always been doing it. You know, they have always been running in the marathons. So it was like a family tradition. And I have always grown up as a runner, and my dad, my dad loves to motivate me, he is my number one supporter,” Miami Palmetto Senior High sophomore and avid runner Brandon De Vito said.

While one does not technically have to be a “runner” to participate in these events, there are still guidelines and expectations. It is asked that one is properly trained and prepared to endure their chosen run and that they can complete a marathon within seven hours.

For De Vito, he is determined to leave his mark on the course and put forth his best effort.

“This year, I am doing the half marathon, which will be about 13.2 miles. I am hoping to get it done in under two hours,” De Vito said. “It is a good exercise. And you know, it feels really good when you finish; you feel accomplished. You feel like you have done something now that not everyone can say they have done, and you just feel great.”

All finishers receive a special medal to remind them of their run. Finishers of the Marathon and Half Marathon distances may receive other awards based on their performance. Overall, the top three individuals from both events will receive awards at the post-race Finish Festival. Age Group Awards give custom-designed medals to the top three males and females based on age categories. The first nonbinary winner in each age group category will also receive a medal.

For more information on the Miami Marathon, click here.