Miami Marathon encourages professional and beginner runners (includes video story)

More than 18,000 runners from around the world took part in the annual Miami marathon and half marathon on Sunday, starting just after 6 a.m.

“The Miami race has been sold out this year,” said Alberto Nieto, Lifetime marathon organizer. “The race is one day a year but we work all year,” 

Both the 26.2-mile marathon and the 13.1-mile half marathons, which passed by some of Miami’s most famous sights, started in front of the former American Airlines Arena in downtown. Then all the runners made their way to Miami Beach.

While half marathoners took the shorter route to Bayfront Park, marathoners running the 26.2-mile route broke off in downtown and headed south to Brickell and Coconut Grove before returning to downtown and the finish line.

Kenyans George Onyancha, 29, and Damaris Areba, 27, both of Kissi in Western Kenya, won the men’s and women’s races. Each earned $4,500. He ran the course in 2 hours 18 minutes. She finished in 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Downtown was filled with spectators watching the marathon and friends and family applauding and waiting for their loved ones. And after they were done, food, music, and merchandise were on display for everyone to enjoy.

From first-time marathoners wishing to challenge themselves to seasoned runners that come here every year, this year’s 21st Miami Marathon and Half Marathon was filled with athletes with inspiring stories.  

“I actually used to play football and I tore my ACL, my ligament on my knee, said Miguel Angel Rodriguez, from Mexico. “Before that, I have never run more than 4 miles, but when I broke my knee I wanted to show myself that I was capable of doing it.”

Layan Abu Tarboush is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in international relations. She is an international student from Jordan interested in reporting on middle eastern politics and affairs. She also likes singing, writing and watching movies.

Esteban Rodriguez is a freshman majoring in TV/Broadcast media. He hopes to work in late-night entertainment, Filmmaking, sports journalism, and/or broadcast television.