Runners from 81 countries registered for 14th annual event
MIAMI, Fl. - The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon is an annual tradition in South Florida that challenges the area's best running talents and those who run for recreation and exercise. But the charm of the race and the community in which it is run has turned the event into a powerful tourist destination for runners throughout the world.
More than 81 countries will be represented when the approximate 24,000 runners surge though the start line on BIscayne Blvd. on the morning of January 24.
Colombia has sent nearly 1,000 runners this year. There are more than 500 Mexicans. There are also large contingents from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Canada and Brazil.
"Our Miami Marathon has become a destination race for runners from all over the world," Race Director Javier Sanchez said. "People have an incredible sense of pride for their countries so we work hard to honor our international participants and their hometown roots. Everyone comes with a common goal and that is to run Miami. Colombia runs Miami. Mexico runs Miami. Canada runs Miami. That is an experience we will continue to emphasize."
About 60 percent of the runners who participate in the race through the streets of Miami, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove will be from the United States. But Sanchez and Director of Running Frankie Ruiz have spent a lot of time recruiting runners on trips to South and Central America to the race produced by Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company.
As a tribute to the growing international contingent of runners, the Miami Marathon will again give each runner bibs that show the flag of the country from which they are traveling.
The influx of runners from South and Central America and the Caribbean is a huge boost to tourism in South Florida. The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon had an economic impact of $45,466,820 in 2015. The event also generated 20,369 hotel room nights. An Economic Impact Study by the Sports Industry Research Center at Temple University also found that each International participant spent an average of $2671 on the trip and that more than half of the runners who came to Miami for the race planned to return again within 12 months.
"Miami is the most global U.S. destination with more than half of all its tourists coming from international markets," said Rolando Aedo, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau."Much of this success is due to the many world-class events that call Miami home including the Miami Marathon. Participants in this race mirror our top feeder markets and greatly contribute to the economic impact of the tourism industry.
"We are especially proud of how this homegrown event has evolved over the years and how it creatively showcases the many communities that make up this tropical, cosmopolitan paradise."
Ruiz has no doubt that the future growth of the race is going to come more from Latin America than the United States and South Florida in particular.
"Much like Miami's business future will depend on how well it serves and markets to Latin America, the Miami Marathon is also focused on that same formula for its success," Ruiz said. "I am a firm believer that we will have more than 50% of our participants coming from outside the US in the near future. The ease of travel and the cultural familiarity of Miami make it extremely attractive to the Latin American runner."
About the Miami Marathon
The Miami Marathon is Florida's elite distance race weekend with over 25,000 runners representing all 50 states and more than 80 countries converging on Miami and South Beach to experience one of the most unique courses in the world. The race has come a long way since 3,400 runners participated in the first Miami Marathon in 2003. Participants include elite runners, top age-group competitors, and many thousands who run for charity and to achieve their own personal goals. Together they enjoy the tropical views and the sounds of South Florida, with a diverse array of entertainment blended into the experience, and generate more than $50 million in total economic impact for the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County. Race route map can be found at: TheMiamiaMarathon.com
About Life TimeSM, The Healthy Way of Life Company
Life Time is a privately held, comprehensive health and lifestyle company that offers a personalized and scientific approach to long-term health and wellness. Through its portfolio of distinctive resort-like destinations, athletic events and corporate health services, the Healthy Way of Life Company helps members achieve their goals everyday with the support of a team of dedicated professionals and an array of proprietary health assessments. As of January 17, 2016 the company operates 117 centers in 26 states and 34 major markets under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information is available at LifetimeFitness.com.