The ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon 2012
The 10th annual event took place with over 30,000 runners
The 10th annual ING Marathon and Half Marathon took place yesterday with over 30,000 people running. With my friends running in the Half Marathon, I went downtown to see all the action. Here are the photos and review from the 2012 Marathon, plus a step by step account of what to expect as a competitor and a spectator in one of the biggest Marathons of the country.
PICKING UP YOUR RACE PACKET AT THE CONVENTION CENTER
With the thousands of people running in the marathon, the packet pick up is held the two days before the race at the Miami Beach Convention Center. At the health and fitness expo you will find not only marathon information but also every brand name known to running, with stands selling their merchandise for a discounted price. Shuttles to and from downtown can be arranged or metrorail tickets can be purchased to get you to the start line on time. The expo is a fun way to collect everything you need for the race plus answer any questions you may have.
GETTING TO THE START LINE
There are various ways to get to the start line outside the American Airlines arena downtown for the 6am start. Shuttles run from South Beach and the metrorail starts running at 5am. We chose to drive downtown and try our luck at parking as close as we could. Traffic on race morning is heavy, and the organizers advise people to not use the bridges from the beach. We in left plenty of time and managed to park only 10 minutes from the start line. There is street parking downtown, but as meters and lots charge 24 hours a day, be sure to bring cash with you to park.
The starting point covers various streets, with the runner corrals stretching up and down US1. The atmosphere was fantastic, with runners and their families enjoying the opening ceremony as cruise ships came into port. The Marathon begins with the wheelchairs, and with my position so near the start line I was quite overcome with emotion seeing not only the strong professional athletes but also families and friends pushing a loved one in a standard wheelchair. They all received a huge cheer from the crowd.
THE MARATHON BEGINS
At 6:15am the gun went off for all the runners, with an explosion of lights and confetti. People living in the area watched from their balconies as thousands upon thousands of people hit the Miami streets heading over the bridge to South Beach. There were so many people competing that at 6:45am, people were still crossing the start line. By this point however my friends had gotten on their way, and I had time to kill as I waited for them to arrive at the finish line.
Now as this is a marathon in Miami, you have some fun options if you are a spectator waiting downtown for your friends. At 6:30am, the clubs are still open and alcohol is still being served. I decided to go to the famous club Space. At this point the first of the wheelchair athletes were already whizzing by the club on their way through downtown. Confused clubbers greeted this sight with stares, as I headed into the club to pass my time for a short while. However if the idea of waiting in a club does not appeal, the hotels along the finish line are also still open and I even managed to squeeze in a mimosa with a read of the Sunday paper at the Tempo hotel along Biscayne Blvd. Well, it was Sunday after all.
THE CHEERING ZONE
After a short read of the paper I re joined the crowds at one of the ING dedicated Cheering Zones at Omni Station. People really get into the spirit, cheering the crowds on with signs that ING provide for you to personalize with your runners name. There was a live music band playing, and a great atmopshere as the runners came by. ING mascots dressed all in gold high five’d the runners as they went past.
THE FINISH LINE
The Finish Line at Bayfront Park is a well organized place for runners to reunite with their families and friends. There is a meeting point with the letters of the alphabet clearly signposted, so head to the correct letter and you will find your friends. Michelob Ultra is one of the race sponsors and there is a huge tent with free beer for anyone over the age of 21. This is where my friends and I finished our morning, celebrating their success in completing the Half Marathon.
People fly in from all over the world to compete in the ING Marathon and the atmosphere on race day is exciting and fun. If you are thinking of competing next year, registration is already open. And for all of those who ran in this years 2012 Marathon, congratulations and well done!
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"The ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon 2012"