Friday, December 17, 2010

A 10k in Mexico is 7.9 Miles

I mentioned before that Linda had paid the entrance fee for the Festival Melaque 10K fun run. I also mentioned that from the description of the run it would probably be a survival run of some sort. This morning at 6:15 AM Linda got up and prepared for the run, I however laid in bed knowing that 30 minutes before we would leave for the plaza Linda would wake me and I would make my coffee, use the restroom and depart. It happened exactly like clockwork.

We arrived at the plaza and there were very few people there. The registration table was set up and a few souls were wandering about, but it was very, very quiet for the race starting in an hour. As we sat and watched, things started to pick up and more and more runners started arriving. A gentleman was walking among the crowd thanking everyone for attending and as he did he made sure that we all knew that there would be many people helping along the course and that no one should get lost. He explained that there would be police and medical help stationed all along the 10K course. Linda seemed happy with that. We wandered back into the growing crowd.

One of our neighbors, Jeff from Cheney, Washington, arrived and we chatted with him. I put his over shirt in our bag so he didn’t have to hide it and we discussed the course. From the map, we all decided that it looks a bit longer then a 10K run, but we are in Mexico, you know, so anything could happen.

Race start time was 8:00 AM and we were watching people sign up to run and our watch read 8:15 AM. Without notice someone shouted something and everyone lined up. The race director spoke for a few minutes and then said something and everyone went different directions all over the streets. I figured out that he gave the instructions and then gave everyone five minutes to warm up. A few minutes later someone else yelled, the runners gathered and then a whistle blew and the men were off! Linda and her female friends stood at the line. Someone shouted, a whistle blew, and they started, stopped and then took off. I guess it was a bit confusing for Linda and the Mexican runners, but they managed to get off the line and on to their run.

By this time Bill and Teri had arrived so we took the opportunity to go into town and have a wonderful breakfast. We ate at a little place and I could look down the street and see when the first runners went by; we had just sat down and ordered when the first men sprinted by. I relaxed and finished my meal.

Once we ate, I walked to the bank and got some money. Bill and Teri said that they wanted to do some shopping so I walked back to the plaza to watch the finishers. The first runners had already arrived by the time I got there. Man, they had scorched the course! Our friend Jeff came in within the first 20 runners; a very strong finish. Barry, one of our volleyball buddies, stopped and watched with me. We looked down the hot road that everyone finished on and checked each runner until we saw Linda. She crossed the finish line and I handed her water and poured several bags of water over her head.

Her stories of the run were about what we figured. The course lead out of town and up a steep hill to the point west of town, then they turned around and headed down into Melaque via the main road. Linda said as they hit the sand part of the run she looked at her watch and it showed that they had already come three miles. The route was to follow the beach to Barra and then out the road to the highway looping back to the plaza in Melaque. As Linda put it “there was no freakin' way we were going to do the beach, Barra and return in 3.2 miles.” So at this point she said she put her head down and ground it out. She crossed the line in the blazing hot sun after running 7.9 miles, a Mexican 10K. It was a survival run. There was jungle, hills, sand, blazing sun, traffic on the highway, traffic in the town and confusion all along the way. Linda made it in style and now she can say she is an international runner!

The rest of the day we spent in Barra and then back home. I was able to get a shot of Linda next to a big blue marlin. She really didn't catch the thing but it sure looked like she had been out fishing though, don't you tink?

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