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The Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon

November 03, 2009 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Sports News  | 8 Comments


Not to be confused with the Goliath ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon, the Miami Beach Half Marathon ran its inaugural race this past Saturday. In contrast to its more-famous counterpart, this race was about pure fun. Sure, it was challenging, but any time you have separate divisions for people racing in costume and people racing in their underwear, you know the race is a bit more lighthearted. And if you’re gonna ask people to wake up for a 7 a.m. start on a Halloween Saturday, you’d better be bringing the fun.



Only in South Beach do you have a race packet pickup at a high end, beachfront club like Nikki Beach, complete with two free drinks and a pasta buffet. I’ve done a lot of races in the past few years, and this was the first that encouraged me to consume alcohol the night before. And I am never one to turn down a free drink at Nikki Beach, that’s like a $14 value. And while I certainly did not get wasted the night before a half-marathon, sipping a cocktail and relaxing on one of the club’s couches was a nice way to relax before the big event.


The morning of the race was, as all races that begin in South Beach are, an interesting scene. Shuttle busses were lined up in front of Opa!, across from Nikki, to take racers to the starting line on Jungle Island. Of course, many racers were in costume, so the street was dotted with people in costume, still out from the night before, drunkenly commenting on the costumes of the endurance athletes who had woken up maybe an half hour before. Again, only in South Beach is it difficult to distinguish the late-night party crowd from the early-morning distance running crowd. 


The crowd assembled as it was dropped off on Jungle island, with serious runners mixing right in with people wearing Halloween costumes. I really have no idea how people run in things like a full mouse suit, or even the girls wearing thigh-high fur boots, especially considering the race spans 13.1 miles in the Miami humidity. Clearly, they are harder individuals than I. The most intelligent costume I saw belonged to the group of girls dressed as South Beach lifeguards, essentially wearing running gear, but still in a creative costume. Another group dressed as the chain gang wasn’t bad either, although I heard they had to cut one loose around mile eight. My costume was “slow half-marathon runner,” and as far as I could tell I nailed it.



The race covered a beautiful course, beginning on Jungle Island in the pre-dawn hours and crossing under 395 to the Children’s Museum. From there we crossed the MacArthur Causeway and ran south along the Miami Beach marina into the newly-renovated South Pointe Park. The new park, for those who have not been to it, is pretty amazing, Not only does it offer a spectacular view of downtown, the Atlantic Ocean, and Fisher Island, but it also has an elevated section where visitors can look out on everything at once.

The race continued up through the streets of SoFi to Lummus Park on 5th, then followed the pavement and beach boardwalk up to the end on 48th Street. If there is a more scenic – and less hilly – half-marathon in America I’d like to see what it is. This course had few sections that did not allow for a spectacular ocean or bay view, and really gave you a lot to look at as you ran over 13 miles to the finish. And it’s a lot easier to run when you have nice scenery to look at. The people in funny costumes didn’t hurt either.



The finish line came just as we completed our second lap around South Pointe Park, and there you were given your bat-shaped medal and all the Publix baked goods you could eat. My time, at well over 2 hours, was unimpressive but exactly what I thought I’d do. And the after-part at Nikki Beach, though lacking free alcohol, was a nice place to chat with other runners from the area. Not many people traveled for the race, so I learned a lot about the Miami running community as I snacked on Publix cookies and Mexican food. 

I’m not sure if this race was a financial success for the group that put it on, but I hope it was. A week before the Ironman – about as serious as a race gets – this race was a fun way to spend Halloween morning and get in some good training as well. Assuming it was successful, it should be run next year. And any of you who are looking for an event to train for, or just to help you along in training for another, should definitely do it. Where else can you check “Underwear” as your division of choice?

Related Categories: Miami: Sports News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

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8 Comments on

"The Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon"

Ginger says:

Matt, congrats on your finish and getting the cool bat medal and free cookies! Were there any spectators? My guess is no one in SoBe is awake that early..

Posted on 11/04/2009 at 12:30 AM

Matt says:

Thanks, Ginger. You tytpe very well for an animal with no thumbs.

There weren’t any spectators at the beginning, but there were some friends and family and whatnot who made it out at the end to cheer people on.

Thanks for coming out to the pre-party on Friday. Good times.

Posted on 11/05/2009 at 1:14 PM

Christy says:

Thanks Matt. When my Mom goes out I practice on the keyboard. Right now I can run from garbage can to garbage can on the beach, but I’ll start training for next year. I have a nice trot when I set my pace, so I think I’ll pass you for sure. Let’s hope no mini greyhpounds enter or I’m toast.

Posted on 11/06/2009 at 1:46 PM

UK Jess says:

Sungal,...Christe,.. you know I think you’re an “Idoit”

Posted on 11/06/2009 at 2:59 PM

Jean-Louis Beaudonnet says:

Arrogant staff and management, from registration, package pick-up to finish.
All mile markers were way off, a few of them were even missing.
Great course, but should be managed by PR Racing, not by these amateurs…

Posted on 11/12/2009 at 9:29 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

I’m not sure about all the, Jean-Louis. But I will say that the emails I got from their race director were some of the worst-written pieces of correspondence I’ve ever seen.

Posted on 11/13/2009 at 10:19 PM

Jean-Louis Beaudonnet says:

Thanks for your response, Matt.
I always refrain from being judgmental based on looks and first impression, but your note does not surprise me in the least.

Posted on 11/14/2009 at 8:21 AM

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