MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thousands of runners took to the streets of Downtown Miami Thursday evening for 2013 Miami Mercedes-Benz Corporate 5K Run.
More than 25,000 people from nearly 900 companies took part in the run. As part of the tri-county race circuit, a portion of the proceeds from the Miami run will benefit United Way.
Runners saw an increased police presence in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“Both the Miami Police Department and Miami Fire Rescue have put into place additional security and additional man power so they can be ready in case something happens,” said co-race director Hans Huseby. “We don’t anticipate anything happening which is why we are going ahead and having the run.”
“We’re going to have uniformed officers on every corner, we’re also going to have undercover officers and if they find anything suspicious they will investigate,” said Miami police Sgt. Freddie Cruz.
Miami police asked those taking part in the run not to bring large bags, duffle bags or backpacks.
“Leave them at home, leave them in the car, don’t bring them. You will be checked if you bring them inside the Mercedes-Benz corporate event. Your bag will be checked and if officers find anything suspicious they will be checking that as well,” said Cruz.
Many runners understand the added security and are just happy they have the chance to get out there and participate.
“We need it. For the sake of all the runners, it’s a good purpose to run and people are doing it because they like it and we have to take care of all of them,” said Rowena Vignolo.
Blocks away from where excited runners are preparing for the run there was another camp set up. It’s staffed by police from all over South Florida as part of the Regional Domestic Security Task Force. Bomb squad members are ready for action, doctors are standing by to help anyone who could be injured, hazardous materials teams are here along with many more.
“Learning from Boston, we realize that, you know, anything can happen and we want the people who are attending this event to know that the first responders here have prepared for almost anything,” said Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Ignatius Carroll.
The makeshift emergency operations center will also give police a bird’s eye view on the race route and much more.
“They will be monitoring all the different closed circuit televisions that we have that are monitoring the event; some that you can see, some that you can not see. They are also monitoring social media to see if anything is being Tweeted or Facebooked about the event that’s taking place,” said Carroll.
Undercover officers will be circulating in the crowd and runners have been asked to do their part.
“The community itself has to serve as our eyes and ears and help us out. If they see something suspicious, flag down one of our officers, flag down a security personnel, let us know,” said Cruz.
Along with beefed up security, people who live and work in the down town area can expect a number of road closures.
At 2 p.m., the Northbound lanes of Biscayne Boulevard, from Chopin Plaza to NE 5 Street were closed closed to traffic.
At 6 p.m., Northbound Brickell Avenue traffic will be sent West on SE 7 Street. Only traffic going to Hotel Intercontinental and One Miami will be allowed over the Brickell Bridge. Brickell Key residents may use Brickell Bay Drive and SE 8th Street from the South to enter or exit Brickell Key.
At 6:30 p.m., no traffic will be allowed in or out of the area bound on the east by Biscayne Blvd/Brickell Ave, on the south by South 13 Street on the west by West 2 Avenue, and on the north by North 5 Street.
The race began at 6:45 p.m.
Starting on Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street the run travels South on Biscayne Blvd to Biscayne Blvd Way / SE 4th Street and West bound to SE 2nd Avenue then South over the Brickell Avenue Bridge to S.E. 13th St, West on S.E. 13th St. to S.W. 2nd Avenue, North on SW 2nd Ave to N.W. 1st Street, East on N.W. 1st Street to N.E. 2nd Avenue, North on N.E. 2nd Avenue to N.E. 4th Street, East on N.E. 4th Street to Biscayne Blvd culminating at Bayfront Park.
A festival with music and food will take place after the race at Bayfront Park.
Roadways reopen as the last of the participants pass and Miami Police Department deems it safe.
- Brickell Ave should reopen by 7:30pm
- SW/NW 2nd Ave should reopen by 8:00pm
- NW/NE 1st St should open by 8:30pm
- Remaining streets by 8:45pm
- Miami Ave South of The River by 7:45pm
- Miami Ave North of The River by 8:45pm
The Northbound lanes of Biscayne Boulevard should be re-opened to traffic around midnight.