MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tents and trucks took over Bayfront Park Friday in preparation for this weekend’s Life Time Miami Marathon.
Sunday, 25,000 runners are expected along with family and friends to cheer on runners in the race.
Runners from all over the world arrived in South Florida including the winner of the 2013 women’s Marathon, Mariska Kramer Postma, from The Netherlands.
She said there’s a simple reason she loves the Miami marathon.
“Well it’s warm here in February and where I come from, it’s cold,” said Kramer Postma.
Race organizers said the key to a successful race is showing off the South Florida scenery and keeping the runners entertained.
“We’re going to have a live salsa band; we’re going to have dancers; there’s going be pineapples given away,” said Javier Sanchez, the marathon’s director.
“You’re actually running throughout your 26.2 mile course there will be approximately 40 different entertainment stations set up throughout the route just to kind of engage you a little bit, help you forget you’re getting that splint, that blister, you’re tired,” said Sanchez. “Just keep you motivated keep you distracted and entertained.”
Sanchez brings experience from the music and entertainment industry to the race.
“I grew up as a trombone player, started playing since the age of 11,” he said.
Sanchez has even played Carnegie Hall, but says his goal, now, is making the marathon a unique experience for runners who come in from other countries and those from right here in South Florida like Manuel Huerta, an Olympic triathlete.
“I’m a Miami boy, I grew up here even though I’ve been here for a while this is the first time I get to run the event,” Huerta said.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, county leaders honored some of the elite runners who will participate in the marathon and half marathon.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Maickel Melamed.
Melamed has overcome physical disabilities to run three marathons and he hopes running in Miami’s half marathon will inspire others to achieve their dreams.
“We are here not to live, we are here to bring a legacy,” added Melamed.