Firefighters, environmentalists among thousands taking part in 2020 Miami Marathon

MIAMI (WSVN) - A group of firefighters wearing their full gear and an environmentalist who will pick up trash on the Miami Marathon’s route are among the thousands expected to participate in this year’s event.

Miami Beach firefighter Claudio Navas said he began walking the marathon’s route in full gear in 2015 to remember Danny Alvarez, a Miami firefighter who lost his battle with PTSD in 2014.

“I committed to do this every year for Danny,” Navas said. “I’m doing this to raise PTSD awareness. I’m also doing this for my fallen brothers that I served with that lost their battle to PTSD.”

More than 200 firefighters from eight South Florida departments will participate in the run wearing their gear to remember Alvarez and to raise awareness for the disorder.

“When he passed away, I came out with the idea of the race in full gear, so I could raise awareness for PTSD,” Navas said.

The following year, Rolando Alvarez, the fallen firefighter’s father, joined Navas, and the group has tripled in size years later.

“It got my attention because he’s doing this in honor of Danny, and Danny is one of ours. He wears our patch,” Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Yamilee Diaz said. “You carry a gift within you. Use it, and it is OK to fall apart.”

“Seek help, don’t keep it inside of you,” Alvarez said. “There is always someone who can help you, and that is the most damaging thing about PTSD: that you guys keep it bottled in.”

Meanwhile, another runner does not mind coming in last place for a good cause.

In the 2019 marathon, environmentalist Andrew Otazo was the last person to cross the finish line, and he was not empty handed.

“Well, it’s actually my favorite race to run,” he said. “When they allowed me for the first time to carry 35 pounds of trash the entire length of the race, they held the race open for me for nine hours and 50 minutes.”

After collecting more than 30 pounds of trash during the marathon, he and his team of seven are raising the bar. For this year’s event, they are building a cart that can carry more than 100 pounds of garbage.

“This is everywhere, and we need to do something systemic and as a culture address it,” Otazo said.

There will be a number of detours and road closures for the marathon in Miami Beach, downtown Miami and the Brickell and Coconut Grove sections of Miami. The closures will begin late Saturday night and continue through early Sunday afternoon.

For a complete list of road closures, click here.

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