A great time in beautiful Chile... (about: 2002)|
A Runner from Pasadena, California (12/8/02)
This was the 3rd annual Costa Del Pacifico Marathon running from Puchuncavi (?) to Vina Del Mar, a coastal resort city 90 minutes outside of Santiago.
This was my 3rd marathon overall, but my first small marathon, with only about 130 people registered to run the full marathon, with not many more running the half marathon and the 10K.
I arrived in Santiago / Vina Del Mar the morning before the race after a 13 hour flight from Los Angeles (with a stopover in Lima, Peru). It was a nice little marathon expo at one of the nicer hotels in town and it included a free pasta dinner.
Marathon morning buses shuttled the runners to their appropriate starting points and I was able to see the course in its entirety. The course seemed to be rolling rather than the flat course that had been described, but I didn't mind since it was a very nice course with the second half along the ocean and the first half in an agricultural area about a mile or two inland.
My one worry was that it would be a very lonely course. However, I ended up running 90% of the race with a couple British women, two of a very few non-Chilean runners, and actually had more company for this race than I ever had at a major marathon.
I didn't miss the bands, cheerleader squads or cheering spectators found at a major marathon one bit. I happily settled for the occasional honking car and at one time was even aided by a policeman who gave me a bottled water.
The course was very good for the first 24 miles or so until we reentered the main city area where the runners faced more traffic and pedestrians (its just not possible to close the road for a marathon with 130 participants, although we did have excellent support from the police). Plus, the last 15K or so of the race, there were pretty strong headwinds, but this was to be expected from an oceanfront course. There were parts of the course that were extremely nice with waves crashing 20 feet away and seals and other wildlife very nearby.
By the final half mile, although completely beat up, I was cheered to the finish by other marathoners who were returning to their cars.
I ended up finishing third to last in 5:18:23 but enjoyed every step of the way.
The two top runners finished in 2:31 and 2:32, not bad for a field of only 130 runners, on a slightly rolling course with ocean headwinds.
I definitely plan on returning to do this race in the near future and I strongly recommend this race for anybody looking for a marathon in South America.