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Race History

Twenty-two years ago, the Miami Marathon was born almost by accident. Back in 2002, Frankie Ruiz was a new Florida International University graduate with a degree in communications. Leafing through a triathlon magazine, he came across a photo of Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who has since become a Gold Medal-winning Paralympics swimmer. Recalls Ruiz, “I came across an article about this 12-year-old double amputee who was running side-by-side with Robin Williams and competing in triathlons and I thought, ‘How cool it would be to get him to come and talk to the kids I coach.’ So I decided to give it a shot.” Ruiz contacted Tolson’s mother, who liked the idea, and encouraged him to send out a press release about Rudy’s visit from California.

Instantly, the media began calling, covering the athlete as he competed together with Ruiz at a local triathlon. Struck by the story, Javier Soto, the chief of staff to then Miami-Dade County mayor Alex Penelas, called Ruiz to invite Rudy to meet the mayor. “At that meeting, Rudy was asked, ‘Why don’t you run the Miami Marathon?’ There was silence from everyone else in the room because they knew we didn’t have a marathon,” recalls Ruiz.

Previous incarnations, including the Miamithon, the Orange Bowl Marathon and the Metro-Dade Marathon, had trouble attracting athletes, and eventually all fizzled out due to financial constraints. Ruiz adds, “The very next day, the mayor made sure I got a call from his chief of staff, who asked me what I would need to start a marathon in Miami. Mayor Alex Penelas and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz were big drivers of the upstart process. We also had lots of help from public officials including Commissioner Pepe Diaz and Sally Heyman” said Ruiz.

In 2003, that first year, the marathon attracted 3,400 people. Over its 19-year history, the race has developed into an internationally renowned event with a field of 25,000 runners from all 50 states and over 80 countries. And Rudy Garcia-Tolson, the boy who was at the start of this all returned to Miami in 2017 as Grand Marshal for the race that, once just an idea, is now firmly rooted as a world-class, global event.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson’s Story

“First they said I couldn’t walk. Then they said I would never run. Competing at the Paralympics? Don’t even try. They told us that double amputees should stay in a chair. Look how that turned out. Everyone says you cannot change the world – just the people around you. The people around me say that I’ve changed their life. I guess now it’s time to change the world.”  – Rudy Garcia-Tolson

Born with popliteal pterygium syndrome, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, is a Paralympic swimmer, runner and triathlete from the USA. Garcia-Tolson started swimming at age 6. When he was eight years old, he stated that he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. True to his word he competed in that event, winning the gold medal in the 200 meter individual medley and breaking the world record for his SM7 class. He’s gone on again to compete, win and break records along the way at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, and 2012 Paralympics in London. We were honored to have him serve as Grand Marshal and participate in the 2017 Miami Marathon & Half Marathon race weekend.

Miami Famous Loyalists

Since the race’s inception in 2003, we’ve had a handful of athletes participate in our world-renowned event every year. These athletes are know as our “Streakers” who earned their 21 Years Miami Famous title in 2023.

It’s truly #NotMiamiWithoutYou!

Emilio AdattoMiami FL
Alex AgurciaMiami FL
Otto AldanaChicago IL
Scarlett AldanaMiami FL
Matt AmsterMiami FL
Maria AndrewMiami FL
Luis ArauzMiami FL
Ric BabcockSalinas CA
Burt BaldoMiami FL
Jonathan BalesFort Lauderdale FL
Caroline BarnesStuart FL
Robert BarnesStuart FL
Denise BellBoca Raton FL
Alan BloomHollywood FL
James BrenanMiami FL
Audrey CampbellFort Lauderdale FL
Juan CarsonMiami FL
Marie ChiodiDelray Beach FL
Rolando ColmenaresMiami FL
Mike CulpWest Palm Beach FL
Maria De Oliveira Cesca‎ Pompano Beach FL
Michael DieppaMiami FL
James DuganMiami FL
Celeste EllichFort Lauderdale FL
Maria EspaillatMiami FL
Andy EspeyPompano Beach FL
Cesar EspinosaHialeah FL
Juan FaitSan Jose, Costa Rica
Jorge FiguerasMiami FL
Jose FuentesMiami FL
Alexis GarciaHialeah FL
Faye GoldinMiami Beach FL
Jeff GordonMiami Beach FL
Jacqueline GreenMiami FL
Barry GreenbergWellington FL
Hope JacobsonMiami FL
Steve JacobsonBoca Raton FL
Tony JonesMiami FL
Chester KalbKey West FL
Gerda KalbKey West FL
Florence KaplanMiami FL
Barbara KlingMiami FL
Sandy KrutchikFort Lauderdale FL
Benedict KuehneMiami FL
Tammy LopezMiami Beach FL
Dennis MarsellaFort Lauderdale FL
Norberto MilanFort Lauderdale FL
Laurie MilgrimHollywood FL
Malka MordujovichMiami Beach FL
Martha MoyaMiami FL
Michael MurawskiMiami FL
Domingos OliveiraMiami FL
Johnny PaganMiami FL
Nancy PeduzziPompano Beach FL
ReBecca PerezHialeah FL
Mark PlattBoca Raton FL
Patrick PriceMiami FL
Jerry ProctorMiami FL
Scott RayRockville MD
Matthew ReibelMiami FL
Deana  RiggsVero Beach FL
Eduardo RiveraHollywood FL
Carlos RodriguezOrlando FL
Kenneth RoysterMiami FL
Fernando SalazarWeston FL
Arthur SarakasPompano Beach FL
Paul SchoenlaubSaint Joseph MO
Joseph ScottMiami FL
Jose SotolongoMiami FL
Terri SwansonFort Lauderdale FL
Marcela ToddFort Lauderdale FL
Steven TonkinsonMiami FL
Stevie WalkerFort Lauderdale FL
Jacky WinerMiami FL
Wayne WrightHomestead FL
Rudy ZepedaHollywood FL

Course Records

Miami Marathon


Record Name Time Year
Course Record David Ruto (Kenya) 2:12:22 2003
State Record Leonid Shvetsov (Russia) 2:11:50 1995
American Record* Khalid Khannouchi (USA) 2:05:38 2002
World Record** Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) 2:02:57 2014


Record Name Time Year
Course Record Hiromi Ominami (Japan) 2:34:11 2006
State Record Charlotte Teske (Germany) 2:29:02 1982
American Record* Deena Kastor (USA) 2:19:36 2006
World Record** Paula Radcliffe (United Kingdom) 2:15:25 2003

Miami Half Marathon


Record Name Time Year
Course Record Brian Sell (USA) 1:03:46 2008
State Record Richard Nerurkar (United Kingdom) 1:01:33 1992
American Record* Ryan Hall (USA) 59:43 2007
World Record** Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) 58:23 2010


Record Name Time Year
Course Record Santa Ines Melchor (PER) 1:13:53 2016
State Record Anne Marie Lauck (USA) 1:10:54 1995
American Record* Deena Kastor (USA) 1:07:34 2006
World Record** Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) 1:05:12 2014

Note: Course Records reported as gun time.
* American Records from USA Track & Field
** World Records from IAAF

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