MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Thousands of runners from South Florida and from across the nation took off at the crack of dawn Sunday morning in the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon in downtown Miami.

So what could motivate so many people to get up so early on a Sunday morning?

The race began around 6:15 a.m. in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena. The course weaved its way from Downtown to Miami Beach to Coconut Grove through Little Havana before returning Downtown for a finish at Bayfront Park.

Organizers said approximately 25,000 runners and walkers participated in the 9th annual event which featured a full marathon course and a half marathon course.

In addition to the runners and walkers, physically challenged athletes also took part in the marathon using everything from recumbent bikes to skateboards. Friends, family and curious spectators lined the 26.2 mile course to cheer them all on.

Because of the scope of marathon, several major roads in Miami and Miami Beach were closed to traffic during the event and will reopen shortly after noon.

With each passing year, the ING Miami Marathon is becoming a premier running event.

Samuel Kipkosgei Malakwen of Kenya placed first in the full marathon with a time of 2 hours 16 minutes 55 seconds.

Teferi Bacha Regasa of Ethiopia came in second in the closet finish in ING Miami Marathon history.

The ING Miami 2009 marathon winner – Moroccan Benazzouz Slimani – finished third in 2:19:48.

Maria Raquel Maraviglia, of Argentina, won the women’s marathon.

The half marathon winner was James Boitt, 31, of Kenya, in 1:06:41.

Lilian Moraa Mariita Gudeta, 23, of Kenya, won the women’s half marathon, in 1:16:04.

There were about 6,000 people registered for the full marathon and about 19,000 registered for the half marathon.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)


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