Written by Jacqueline Newell
The first weekend of May, a gaggle of Fulbrighters converged on Mendoza to participate in the Maratón Internacional de Mendoza. Upon arrival, we made multiple treks through the park (with fresh smoothies included) to the futbol stadium in order to retrieve our kits. I made my first trip early in the morning with Romi, Maxi and Panchito and later returned with Sarah.
The weekend included a full marathon, half marathon and 10 KM races. Only 5,000 racers participated, making kit pick up a breeze! Having worked the Beach to Beacon kit pick up many times, I know it can be, as the Argentines say, una locura! Sarah & I checked out the stadium and its accompanying museum while we were there.
The morning of the race, Vanessa, a member of my running group, picked me up at 7am to go to the Parque General San Martin and the race’s start line. I’m not sure how it happened but my information was incorrect. I thought the race started at 9am, not 7:45am. As the sun was rising, runners were warming up on the track by the start line. Everyone in my running group kept telling me, “Jackie, calentarte!” (Jackie, warm up!) I was so confused, I had an hour and a half before the race, why would I go warm up?
I’m fairly certain everyone was thinking, “the American girl has lost her mind.” I was running around like crazy trying to call my friends to let them know. Cellphones were put into airplane mode so none of my calls went through. Somehow, I was able to reach a few Fulbrighters but, the race was starting. As I crossed the starting line, I was still pinning on my bib! I ran the first two kilometers with my phone in my hand, trying to connect to the park’s wifi to reach my friends but to no avail.
I ran the 21 kilometers (13.1 miles) through Mendoza’s center and the neighboring town of Godoy Cruz. It involved lots of slow, steep hills and twists and turns through traffic. The last 5 kilometers were an uphill battle through the park. With less than a kilometer left, I made my only stop of the whole race – a photo shoot. There was no one else around me so I stopped and posed for a couple of photos before the photographer yelled at me to keep running (Photos below).
The end of the race was a lap around the track and I was relieved to see that the other Fulbrights had made it when Kiko joined me in my last lap. Everyone was so understanding about the mix up in times – thank goodness for good friends! Afterwards, we all piled into cars and had ourselves a post-race brunch. It was a nice way to wrap up the morning before we went our separate ways.
Cheers to MIM 2015!