The 2021 Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, canceled earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic, has announced the event’s ‘21 virtual replacement: #VirtuallyMiamiFamous.
#VirtuallyMiamiFamous, open to U.S. and international participants, will offer three distance options: the conventional 26.2-mile marathon, a 13.1-mile half marathon and a 3.1-mile 5K.
Participants in any or all of the virtual events can “run on their own at their own time of day, own location with whomever they want,’’ said race director Frankie Ruiz, who will be leading tutorials on how to plan your route. “There’s no prize money here at stake, just the display of times. You can’t qualify for other marathons or anything like that. It’s to have fun, to have some semblance of an event and to be safe doing it.’’
Runners will have from Jan. 10 through Jan. 31 to complete their virtual distance or distances if they choose to participate in multiple virtual events. Medals will be awarded, as well as T-shirts and other goodies.
“I was a bit surprised with the reaction,’’ Ruiz said of the marathon cancellation. “I thought I would get more runners in disagreement but it seems the overall consensus was we were doing the right thing — so I sort of slept a little better.”
Registration will remain open through Jan. 31, but those who already registered for any of the three canceled races (marathon/half marathon/5K) have until Nov. 7 to opt into the virtual event or select between one of the following alternate options:
▪ Defer at no charge to 2022 and receive entry for one distance into #VirtuallyMiamiFamous (Please note that the 2022 race date was changed this week from Jan. 30 to Feb. 6 because of scheduling issues with the Miami Beach Convention Center, where the weekend expo will return. )
▪ Switch to all three #VirtuallyMiamiFamous distances and receive guaranteed spot in 2022;
▪ Refund of canceled 2021 event entry fee;
▪ Donate already-paid entry fee to the Life Time Foundation, which works to improve nutrition in school food programming.
More than 5,000 of the originally expected 22,000-plus field for the marathon/half marathon had already registered for the canceled event, many of whom are expected to participate virtually and compete again in 2022.
Ruiz, an accomplished runner and longtime Belen Jesuit cross country coach who has led his runners to 10 of their 11 state titles since 2002, for the first time will be able to compete in his own race.
“I’m going to encourage people to beat my time,’’ Ruiz said, laughing.
Go to themiamimarathon.com to learn more.