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A Race to Tri: Miami Man

Lions, Tigers, Triathletes, Oh My! This race through Zoo Miami is one for the bucket list.

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Each magazine issue, we’ll be highlighting a race you might not know about. This month: Miami Man in Miami, Florida

If you’re looking for a late-season race in sunny climes, Miami Man on Nov. 14 might be just the ticket.

From 2016 to 2019 it served as the USAT Long Course National Championship, and in 2018 and 2019 it was host to the USAT Multisport Festival. The most popular part of the race? The run course through Zoo Miami, which leads to some unique race photos.

Here’s our quick snapshot of this race you should tri.

Photo: Alan Parker

What: With a wide range of race distances—including half-iron, Olympic, duathlon, and aquabike—it’s no surprise this Florida event draws athletes of all ages and experience levels from across the U.S. The event started in 2004 and has seen more than 26,000 people take part over the years.

Why: There aren’t too many places in the U.S. where you can race in November. “I think a lot of athletes around the country like coming down to close out their season and get one last taste of summer before winter rolls in,” said race director Robert Childers. “It’s the perfect time of year here, with an average high of 79°F, which makes it a great vacation destination.”

The zoo theme runs throughout the race too, with swim caps that look like fish (fins and all!) included for racers and stuffed zoo animals as awards. “We have themed aid stations and run a contest for best aid station with athletes voting on their favorites, so this all adds to the fun festival vibe,” Childers said.

In previous years, Indy car drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan have raced the event, and local athlete Hector Picard, who is a double-arm amputee, is always popular. “He swims on his back, has an attachment for his bike so he can steer with his half-arm and brakes with his knee,” Childers said. Picard also gives demonstrations on how to change a flat tire with his feet.

Photo: Alan Parker

How: Like most events, Miami Man was canceled last year due to COVID but is set to return this year for its 17th edition on Nov. 14. More than 2,400 racers took part in 2019 and race registration is still open for this weekend. For all distances, the swim takes places in a calm spring-fed lake, the bike course rolls through rural Miami-Dade County, and if you’re feeling fatigued on the run course at least you’ll have the animals at the zoo to look at.

For more info, check out miamihalfiron.com