Frankie Ruiz Shares Tips and Local Spots to Run the Wings for Life World Run on May 9, or Any Miami Fun Run


Since the Wings for Life World Run began in 2014, it’s called South Florida home to one of its flagship races. Held in Sunrise, FL for six straight years, runners, walkers, and wheelchair participants have gathered to compete against thousands of others from across the globe at exactly the same time, all while raising millions of dollars for spinal cord injury research.

This year the race will take place via the event App, which means participants can choose their own run location. We connected with Miami Marathon Founder and recently appointed Chief Wellness Officer of Miami, Frankie Ruiz to share advice and some of his favorite spots to run in Miami. 

City Running

  • Find a route that has public restrooms with water fountains, possibly a public park along your route. If not keep the route close to your house where you can pop in for a pitstop or to rehydrate.
  • Start off real easy, the city can hype us quickly and our pace will pay the price later in the race.
  • Don't pick a route that has lots of turns that can slow you down and confuse you.
  • I prefer to run on asphalt instead of concrete because it just feels a little better on my body but whether or not you choose the sidewalk or the road make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings.
  • Consider designing your route to have some places more open-air from time to time just because city streets with lots of buildings can get extra warm and humid mid-mornings.
  • Wear bright clothes

Frankie’s City Pick:

  • The Underline — This trail starts in the Brickell area and continues under the metrorail.

Ruiz says this is where he plans to run. 

“I am going to be pushing Michael Sayih in his Special Compass racing wheelchair. I am thinking of just staying on the Underline southbound for as long as I can and taking the metrorail back to my starting point. This gives me the most real-life experience possible. Brings back the memories of the in-person race and gets me excited that for 2022 we'll be back doing the same!” 

Beach Running

  • When I think of running on the beach I think of wide-open spaces and lots of room to spread out so choose the beach if that is what you are looking for.
  • Pick a shoreline or a high side leveled section that has the most compact sand.
  • Be mindful of the sand granules getting into your socks so you may want to lather up using body glide or other chafing prevention product prior to your run.
  • The sun will probably be your biggest nemesis so plan for it with extra sunscreen, white clothes, and head gear.
  • Keep the strides short while focusing on bringing the knees up a bit more than if you were on the road.
  • Practice running the beach for at least 3-4 sessions prior to the race.
  • Consider a hybrid option of running sand first then jumping onto a more stable surface with better sun coverage.

Frankie’s Beach Pick

  • South Beach - Hard Packed Sand Beach - 23rd Street south all the way past 1st Street to Government Cut. These hard-packed sands provide the best viewing stage for all that is Miami and its beaches. 

Frankie’s Other Running Picks

  • Lummus Park - This is one of Miami Beach’s largest concentrations of Coconut Palms set as a tropical curtain of sorts for the Art Deco buildings along world-famous Ocean Drive
  • Venetian Causeway - 360-degree views from the bridges connecting the man-made islands that make the mileage just fly by. The sites of the multi-million-dollar homes and the yachts floating by can certainly help the mind wander.
  • Rickenbacker Causeway - The “big bridge” or more formally known as the William Powell Bridge, will give you the highest elevation in South Florida available to runners

There is still time to sign up for Sunday’s Wings for Life World Run on the App or at where 100% of registration fees go toward finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.

Kaitlyn Vadenais is a certified personal trainer and health enthusiast who likes to stay active with a calendar filled with workouts. She is always down to try the new boutique fitness studio or trendy workout, and loves connecting with similar people within the community. You can follow her fitness adventures around South Florida on Instagram @activekait.

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