As a lover of international travel, I certainly look for any opportunities to marry my two favorite worlds: travel and running. Exploring a new city via a catered 26.2 miles is a lifelong memory, albeit a painful one. A few years back, I hopped onto a plane to travel to South America for another global race in Lima, Peru.
Held at the end of April/beginning of May each year, I thought that it is fitting to write about my experiences abroad because this race is coming up soon. I highly recommend participating in races outside of America because you quickly realize just how demanding and spoiled we truly are in the U.S. endurance world.
As seen in the photo, participants wears their race shirts. This isn’t typical of other international races in which I’ve participated, but in Lima, they like to don their new race shirts. Instead of running in a sea of colors, you run in a sea of whatever color the race directors chose for that year. Good luck trying to pick out someone in a race!
I’m used to aid stations every 1-2 miles, maybe every 5K in smaller city races. Although Lima is a standard city race, the marathon offered a total of five aid stations for all 26.2 miles. And they ran out of water at the halfway point. If I could redo that race, I would have stuffed a few extra wads of cash into my racing belt and stopped in a convenience store located along the route. I did carry a water bottle with me and begged and pleaded with the volunteers at the few aid stations available to fill it up, but was told, “No hay agua.” (There is no water)…say what? For us slow pokes, the water ran out.
One of my best friends is also a Peruvian resident and I luckily visited her during my trip. She even came to cheer me on during the race and sat in the spectators’ bleachers. Unfortunately, they literally fell apart as my friend, and many others, were sitting on them. Everyone walked away unscathed and laughing, but in America, that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I kept hearing “peligroso,” meaning “dangerous,” from police officers along the course. I concurred. The course was open to cars, and traffic in Peru is kind of a free for fall. I heard a honk behind me at mile 18; I turned around and saw a gigantic tour bus merely inches from my heels. That’s enough to make me run faster! I also had to make my way through roundabouts as traffic flowed in and out.
I finished still alive!