Life Time Miami Marathon set for 2025. More than 15,000 finished Sunday despite heat

When Life Time Miami Marathon director Frankie Ruiz woke up at 6 a.m. Monday, the thermometer registered 55 degrees — perfect for running 26.2 miles.

Exactly 24 hours earlier, before the sun had risen, it was already 73 on its way to a steamy 84, with 94-percent humidity. But somehow, 15,272 of a combined 18,000 marathoners and half-marathoner made it to the finish.

“I did see a lot of runners out this morning in Coconut Grove,’’ Ruiz said Monday afternoon. “I was thinking, ‘You know what? At the very least they’re going to have a really, really nice recovery run.”

You want cooler weather on marathon day? There’s always next year.

The 2025 Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon is set for Feb. 2. But registration won’t open until Aug. 1. Ruiz said registration was open during the two-day marathon expo this past weekend, and about 1,000 competitors registered before the window closed.

Ruiz said more than 3,000 completed the marathon, “which is pretty darned good.’’

“I get tagged a lot on social media and my response to those who finished: “You deserve double congratulations. It was a hot one, you got it out of the way, now look forward to improving your time in a future race.’’

Participation capped

Elite runners leave the starting line in front of the Kaseya Center during the start of the Life Time Miami Marathon on Sunday, January 28, 2024 in Miami, Florida
Elite runners leave the starting line in front of the Kaseya Center during the start of the Life Time Miami Marathon on Sunday, January 28, 2024 in Miami, Florida

Ruiz said organizers will assess every detail of the race, but plans are to again cap participation at 18,000.

“Right now everybody’s feedback has been, ‘Awesome race, here’s something you can do better.’ And I’m fine with that. I can be doing this for the next 80 years and we’ll never get everything entirely perfect. But if we can get the overall experience to be a good one so that people want to continue running and doing local events, then we’re satisfied.

“I’ll never be content. There’s always room for improvement.’’

Among the discussions will be how to improve the early stages of the race on the MacArthur Causeway, how to improve aid stations so that runners can get their water and hydration replenishment quicker, and how to streamline the awarding of medals.

“We had some of our folks out there seeing how everything flowed, but at times you could see there was a bottleneck happening on the MacArthur,’’ Ruiz said.

Regarding the 23 aid stations that “upwards of 250 runners pass per minute,’’ Ruiz said more people manning the stations are needed. “They couldn’t replenish them quick enough.’’

The awarding of medals is a trickier situation. The downtown finish on Biscayne Boulevard near Bayfront Park doesn’t provide as much space to spread out as organizers would like, so many of the post-race activities are compressed.

Exit strategy

“A lot of races that do a good job on the post-race exit have the real estate to walk you down,’’ Ruiz said. “In the New York City Marathon, for example, you have to walk about a mile until you exit into the city. We can’t keep going further north or we’d block the entrance to Bayside and the Port of Miami.’’

Ruiz said workers were encouraged to be more diligent about checking that people had actually finished as opposed to “jumping into the race or coming around a second time.”

“Once we realized there was an issue, they corrected it.’’

Regarding the medals themselves, which were shaped like the sun and had sharp points to represent the rays, organizers before the race suggested to out-of-town competitors that they could pack them in checked baggage or use shipping services to avoid the TSA possibly confiscating them.

“We’ve had no more than 8-10 messages from people who have had their medals taken from TSA,’’ Ruiz said, “and Life Time is making all efforts to replace them.’’

Expect another waiting list for 2025, as this year’s rose to 9,000.

“Once it sells out, it sells out,’’ Ruiz said. “But we’re always open to anything we can do to make the event even better.’’