Written by Jacqueline Newell
Running in Mendoza has been an interesting experience. After taking time off after the Disney Princess half marathon, my return to running started at an elevation of 2,447 ft. (about 2,400 ft. higher than Cape Elizabeth). Needless to say, it was difficult to get back into my old habits. I began by running just round the 5 plazas in the city center but, running through the crowds and playing red rover with traffic quickly become tiresome. I soon discovered that in the Parque General San Martin there is a pedestrian path around a lake and plenty of dirt paths throughout the whole park.
Last weekend, I invited another Fulbright Fellow to join me in running a 10KM race for fun. It was called Carrera del Vino (race of wine) in the next town over. When we went to pick up our kits, we were given bibs, nail polish, tooth paste, meal vouchers, and neon t-shirts. The staff was pretty excited to have two North Americans there for their race. They very kindly offered to drive us to Maipu when they realized we had no way to get to the starting line.
On Sunday morning, we waited outside of the Park Hyatt to board a bus to take us out of the city and into wine country. Once we arrives, we walked 3 KM to the start line and jumped right into a group zumba warm up session. All the different running clubs had tents set up and cheer squads – I really need to join one of these! Before the 10KM and 3KM races started, there was a children’s 1KM race filled with adorable Argentine children.
The race was 6.2 miles on various paths. It began on a main road leading out of the vineyard, through a neighborhood and back among the vines. About half way through the race, Sarah and I found ourselves among tall grass, trying not to roll our ankles on rock piles. The mud was so thick in some spots that everyone stopped and walked to try and navigate the marshy land. Marching one-by-one, we found ourselves lost as no one knew where the race continued. I don’t believe anyone set a PR that day.
We ran in between grape vines to return back to the vineyard. The one hill on the whole course made up the final kilometer (our very own Heart Break Hill). After the race, there was group yoga and catering that included unlimited wine. At the awards ceremony, Sarah came in the top three for her age group. The next day was also her birthday so I tried to get everyone to sing happy birthday to her… it didn’t work.