Marathons in Florida Offer Picturesque Courses

Marathons in Florida Offer Picturesque Courses



Marathons in Florida have become increasingly popular travel destinations for runners looking to combine a race with a vacation. Florida’s tropical climate and beaches provide a scenic backdrop for road races, and its major destination cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa host some of the largest marathons in the United States. For winter-weary northerners, Florida’s marathons in Florida offer a chance to escape the cold and enjoy a warm weather race.

Overview of Major Marathons in Florida

Some of the largest and most popular marathons in Florida include:

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January) – Part of a race weekend at Disney World in Orlando with events ranging from a 5K to full marathon. Known for its entertainment and character sightings along the course.
  • Miami Marathon and Half Marathon (Late January/Early February) – Fast, flat course along the scenic Miami coastline and South Beach.
  • Space Coast Marathon (November) – Held along Florida’s Space Coast with views of the ocean and potential rocket launches.
  • Best Damn Race Orlando (December) – Fun race weekend with a half marathon and shorter distances ideal for first-timers.
  • Tampa Bay Marathon (February) – Picturesque course crosses two bay bridges and gives views of downtown Tampa.
  • Marathon to Marathon in the Florida Keys (May) – Smaller race from Marathon to Key West island hopping across 7 bridges.
  • A1A Marathon (February) – Runs along Florida’s scenic A1A highway from Jacksonville Beach to St. Augustine.

Top 5 Largest Marathons in Florida

Marathon Location Average # of Finishers Month
Walt Disney World Marathon Orlando Over 13,000 January
Miami Marathon Miami Over 20,000 January/February
Space Coast Marathon Cocoa Beach Over 2,500 November
Best Damn Race Orlando Orlando Over 3,000 December
Gasparilla Distance Classic Tampa Over 20,000 February

Benefits of Running a Florida Marathon

There are many advantages to signing up for a marathon in Florida:

  • Better winter training conditions – The warm weather provides a nice escape for northern runners to get more quality training miles outside during the winter. Daily high temperatures in January and February typically range from 70-80°F.
  • Opportunities for a “runcation” – Combine a marathon with a beach vacation to make a race feel less stressful. Major cities like Miami and Tampa offer plenty of attractions. Disney World provides entertainment for the whole family.
  • Warmer race day temperatures – Instead of freezing at the start line, expect race temperatures from 50-70°F for most Florida marathons. Less clothing is needed and the warmer weather can make for a more enjoyable run.
  • Pancake flat & fast courses – Most Florida marathon courses are flat with only minor hills, set along coastlines or intercoastal waterways. This can allow for fast finishing times in ideal conditions.
  • Festive atmospheres – Costumed runners, lively crowds, and post-race festivals create entertaining marathon experiences. Disney and superhero themed races boost excitement.

Downsides can include hotter & more humid race days in the fall/early winter. But the pros generally outweigh the cons for most looking to maximize marathon performance.

Also Read:


Selecting and Registering for a Florida Marathon

Choosing which Florida marathon to run can be a fun but challenging process. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Compare locations and dates – Pick a race in a city or destination you’d like to visit. Late January/February offer cooler temps while November/December have higher heat and humidity.
  • Check out the course map & elevation – Look for pancake flat courses along waterfronts like Miami. Be aware of potential bridges along bayfront courses.
  • Read recent race reviews – Research feedback from previous years on course, crowds, and organization. Races like Disney or Miami score well on atmosphere.
  • Consider your goals – If chasing a new PR, flat and fast courses in ideal weather conditions are key. For fun, look for entertainment on the course.
  • Register early – Races like Disney sell out quickly, as much as a year in advance. Others like Miami offer tiered pricing by date.

Popular races require making hotel and travel arrangements well in advance too. Quickly register once you’ve selected your target marathon to make sure you don’t miss out on a spot.

Tips for Running a Florida Marathon

If you’re lucky enough to register for one of the popular marathons in Florida, here are some key tips to make the most of your race experience:

  • Acclimate to warmer conditions – Spend time training in Florida for at least 2 weeks pre-race to get used to the heat and humidity. Race morning cool downs still make a difference.
  • Load up on fluids and electrolytes – Hydrate regularly in days preceding the race and get enough sodium to prevent cramping. Fuel well during the run.
  • Adjust your goal pace – Be flexible on expectations by 10-15 sec/mile slower for warmer temps according to experts. Don’t let pride derail your race.
  • Wear light, breathable clothing – Dress for at least 10-15°F warmer than the start temp, wear wicking fabrics and minimal layers. Bring shades and sunscreen.
  • Enjoy entertainment and aid stations – Whether it’s Disney characters or lively bands, embrace the enthusiasm. Take advantage of all fluids.
  • Have an escape plan – If the heat gets to you, make a plan to drop out or walk at certain mile markers near transportation. Don’t take unnecessary health risks.

Preparing properly both physically and mentally will allow you to enjoy your marathon in Florida safely. Be ready to have fun and make it a memorable trip!


From the parks of Orlando to the beaches of Miami, Marathons in Florida provide scenic venues for runners to challenge themselves and enjoy warm weather hospitality. Flat, fast courses capable of delivering PRs combine with lively entertainment to make these major marathons big travel draws each year. With smart preparation, registration, and pacing, runners can check a Florida marathon off their bucket list in style. The Sunshine State delivers when it comes to destinations for an unforgettable road race experience.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button