Even the blistering heat of the Miami sun couldn’t compete with the 18,000 participants reaching the finish line last weekend for the annual Life Time Miami Marathon and Half.
This past Sunday Jan. 28, participants geared up for the 26.2-mile race that began at the Kaseya Center and snaked through South Beach, North Miami, Brickell and Coconut Grove with a finish line at Bayfront Park.
Alex Westover, a student at UM studying Marine Biology and Ecology, participated in the full marathon after previously completing his first full Ironman race, a long distance triathlon race, this past November.
“I did the marathon because my mom used to run marathons when I was younger, and it has always been a dream of mine to achieve,” Westover said.
“My favorite memory is writing the motto ‘Go One More’ on my arm before the race which was inspired by Nick Bare, the founder of Bare Performance Nutrition in Miami, in response to his mother’s passing,” Westover said. Nick Bare is an athlete himself and inspires many to achieve their goals through the sale of wellness supplements that support athletes.
He was shocked to see that a handful of other participants had the same motto or championed his dedication.
A marathon requires a significant amount of endurance to complete, and participants usually go through extreme amounts of fitness training and meal planning to ensure that they reach the finish line.
Westover had been working with his coach since last August, making sure his running mileage was high enough to participate. He also partnered with a nutritionist to practice a healthy diet and got regular blood tests.
Although planning for this event is crucial for personal success, there are factors to consider outside of the athlete’s control.
This year, the weather was one of them. According to Westover, Miami brought out extreme temperatures of over 85 degrees at the peak of the race. Even through the thick of the heat, participants were ushered by a rallying cause.
“It was so nice to see comradery from a community I didn’t know was as big as this, showing that whenever life gets challenging, no matter the adversary there is always a reason to keep pushing,” Westover said.
With the long distance and strong heat, the Miami Marathon proved to be a test of mental and physical strength– but was uniting for all involved.
“Realizing in a world where there is a lot of negativity- there is pure comradery for the 4 hours, 14 mins and 43 seconds, where everyone is there to support you and shine positivity back into the world,” Westover said.