1. Expo – The Miami Marathon expo is the the best and most interesting expo I’ve been to as far as swag and interesting booths go. And I’ve been to all the Disney expos and the Marine Corps Marathon expo here (the MCM was pretty great too but Miami trumps it ever so slightly). There was much more swag and I bought more random things expo that I hadn’t ever seen elsewhere.
2. Medal – It doesn’t disappoint. The website didn’t do it justice.
3. Weather – Miami is a great place in the winter. There is a constant breeze and great sunshine. Yes, it was humid and pretty hot, even for us Floridians, but you can’t beat the weather anywhere else in winter.
4. Restrooms – At the start you are able to use the restrooms in the American Airlines Arena right by the starting corrals. It was way better than using the plastic outhouses you usually find places.
5. Entertainment – If you’re someone who likes entertainment along the course, I think you could put all the shennanigans that took place (see previous posts) into the “entertainment” category. If you are a people watcher, this is definitely your race! This was the craziest bunch of runners I’ve ever seen in a race. (Who doesn’t like a good handful of fights and screaming along a race course?!)
6. Food – My race buddy disagrees, but the food at the end was the best post race food I’ve ever had. Rice and black beans folks. It was perfection.
1. The Finish – Mud, rain, chaos, running out of medals (yes, that happened), no finisher’s picture station, no clear instruction or idea on where to go…. if you’re looking for a race where the end is a relaxing, victorious, easily navigated affair, this ain’t it.
2. Logistics stress – Take this with a grain of salt, coming from someone who gets shuttled to the start line in a posh bus at Disney races, and who simply walked to the start of DC races from my condo back in the day, but getting to and from the race start and finish was stressful. You basically have to cab it through some unsavory areas of the city no matter where you’re staying. Miami’s “metro” would be another way if you happened to be on the limited route. Getting a cab back from the finish was insane. First off, there were no cabs. Then, no less than 3 vagrants approached us, one of them getting into a fierce verbal altercation with a motorcycle Miami PD cop while we stood there looking on.
Run Miami! It’s relatively cheap entry and you can buy a race entry up to the last minute, unlike any other marathon of its size in the country. It’s always a great medal, very easy going atmosphere during the race (fights notwithstanding) and it’s probably going to be different than any other race you’ve ever done. If you can, bring friends! I saw so many husband-wife runners and a ton of foreign runners who were running in 5-person friend packs. And, as far as destination races go, this one has a lot of things to do when you’re not running. South Beach is, as ever, wonderful for breakfast (The Front Porch Cafe) or drinks or just getting a flan latte at the Starbucks near there. And if you like the beach, then this is your place!