Most exciting race of my life! (about: 2001)|
A Runner from Marinette, Wisconsin (8/12/01)
This was my first foreign race. It is a half marathon in the city of Coban, about four hours from Guatemala City by bus. The city goes all out for the race. There is a fiesta in the Central Park with food and live music. There is a parade the day before the race. The streets are lined with banners and streamers all the way. Crowds pack the streets screaming, 'Animo', 'Fuerte', and 'Vas a Ti'. The only problem I experienced was that there wasn't any water for the first 3 km or so. After that, the crowds passed out bottled drinks the rest of the way. Be prepared to run in some very hot and humid weather. This is truly an international race. There were Kenyans, Ukrainians, Russians, people from all over Latin America, Americans, and Japanese. I met a four time Olympian from Angola and some Kenyans working on making it to the Olympics in Athens. I was lucky enough to have a host family, but do not count on having hosts. You'll need to make hotel reservations a year in advance. I recommend contacting INGUAT, the national tourist agency via the internet or through the embassy of Guatemala. As long as you're in Coban, you might want to see the nearby caves, springs, and nature preserve. Just for interest, there is another half marathon in Antigua and I heard about a marathon in Guatemala City. Check with the tourist agency for information on these races.