Set your alarm clocks for when it’s still dark Sunday morning, slip into extra layers, sip some extra java and get out of your cars and on your feet, South Florida.
More than 20,000 runners and walkers will take over downtown for the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, and could use your support.
The event, in its 14th year, begins at 6 a.m. in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena on Biscayne Boulevard.
The finish line covers three blocks from Bayfront Park to Northeast Third Street and will feature live music, food, drinks and bleachers that are open to the public until 1 p.m., when organizers start tearing down the course.
Entertainment is big along the 26.2-mile course (13.1 miles for half marathoners) and will include nine DJs, six bands, and drum lines and color guards from Coral Springs High School, Miami Killian, Miami Coral Park and the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts.
Participants appreciate spectators helping provide that extra push, and race officials have designated seven “Cheer Zones’’ to make it easier.
Baptist Health is sponsoring the zones at 1100 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach, the Omni Cheer Zone (with the music of Xpresso) and at 2600 Brickell Avenue.
Team Lifeline will have a zone at Fifth and Alton Road on Miami Beach.
Friendship Circle International has one at Northeast 15th Avenue and North Miami Avenue. Lululemon’s is at North Miami Avenue between Northwest 13th and 11th Terrace. Christ Fellowship’s zone is at North Miami Avenue and Northwest Fifth Street.
The Miami Parrot Head Club will have its traditional cheer zone on Key Biscayne. And the Caribbean American Heritage Foundation of Florida will have a community zone at 1101 Brickell Avenue.
Keep in mind that the MacArthur Causeway will be closed in both directions (except one lane for residents of Palm, Star and Hibiscus Islands) from 6 a.m. to 10:15 Sunday, as runners will be racing there.
The Sunday start will be a cold one. The forecast calls for a clear, 46-degree start, with temperatures rising to the low 50s by the time most have finished.
For runners, it couldn’t be better.