Outdoors

Despite rain, Fitbit Miami Marathon runners need fan support. Here’s where to watch

Thousands of runners participate in the Miami Marathon under cold and wet conditions on Jan. 29, 2017. The 2019 edition takes off Sunday at the same location at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Thousands of runners participate in the Miami Marathon under cold and wet conditions on Jan. 29, 2017. The 2019 edition takes off Sunday at the same location at AmericanAirlines Arena. cjuste@miamiherald.com

Bring an umbrella if need be, but first and foremost, bring yourself.

The 19th edition of the Fitbit Miami Marathon and Half Marathon will bring thousands of fitness enthusiasts to downtown Miami for the start at AmericanAirlines Arena and finish nearby on Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street, adjacent to Bayfront Park.

And despite the expected rain, they’d appreciate some support during their 26.2-mile and 13.1-mile journeys through Miami, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove.

There will be live music and bleachers that are open to the public until organizers begin to tear down the course at about 2 p.m.

“When you think of the world’s greatest marathons they all have something in common,’’ said race co-founder and chief running officer Frankie Ruiz. “And that is that they’re lined with spectators. We know it’s a sacrifice because our race starts so early, but we do ask the residents to support not just our local runners but the out-of-towners who have come to celebrate in our city.’’

Entertainment throughout the course will include DJs and live music — from New World Symphony musicians on Miami Beach to the Voodoo Kings musicians at the opening to Key Biscayne to the Blu Daze Band on Brickell.

Cheerleaders and high school and drum lines will also perform.

A good place for marathon-watchers to cheer and eat breakfast at the same time is on Green Street in Coconut Grove, where you can give encouragement as the runners make their way toward the finish at a physically and mentally daunting part of the race — roughly mile 20.

Another good spot, Ruiz suggested, is near Vizcaya, where you can see runners heading both southbound (roughly Mile 17) and northbound (around Mile 23). “Ride the Metrorail to the Vizcaya Station and cross over using the U.S. 1 overpass to get over Dixie to the spot at 32nd Road near Vizcaya,’’ Ruiz said. “The runner there are coming and going.’’

Another useful place to watch: Brickell City Centre, where a roof and overhang can help keep you dry at Mile 25 of the 26.2-mile race.

Several ‘’Cheer Zones’’ have been established in Miami Beach, downtown Miami, Coconut Grove and on Brickell, where spectators can congregate.

The Baptist Health Cheer Zones are at Washington Avenue and 17th Street in Miami Beach just after Mile 6, at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 15th Street in downtown Miami just after Mile 11 and at the Brickell Medical Plaza at 2660 Brickell Avenue between Miles 14 and 15.

As usual, blank cheer cards that spectators can customize will be provided at cheer zones.

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Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.


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