It’s time to get your trainers on and join the 45,000 people who will take to the streets to participate in the Media Maratón de Bogotá this month.
Athletes from all over the world will participate in the Media Maratón de Bogotá, one of Latin America’s most important running competitions on July 30, bringing all eyes to the city.
Correcaminos de Colombia, the competition organiser, expects that 45,000 people will run in this year’s race, which is not far from the number that take part in the world’s biggest marathons such as London, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo or Berlin. According to the Boston Athletic Association, this past spring 30,074 runners entered the Boston marathon. That’s how big the Media Maratón de Bogotá is.
Bogotá’s competition is one of only ten half marathons to be certified as a gold label race by the International Association of Athletics Federation, making it an important stop for professional athletes around the world.
Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, as well as Kenyan world medallists Bedan Karoki, Mary Wacera and Veronica Nyaruai will be important figures in the race.
Nyaruai, who placed second in last year’s Media Maratón de Bogotá, returns to the country this year with the goal of leaving with the title.
At 2,640 metres above sea level, the city’s altitude brings an additional challenge to the competition and is the reason why it is so attractive for many athletes. The date of the half marathon here is also very convenient as it gives competitors the right amount of time to prepare for other marathons later in the autumn.
There will be two different races that day: the 10k and 21k. Both start and end at the Parque Simón Bolívar. The 21k begins at 9.30am and the route will take runners all the way to the centre before they head north to Calle 92 where they will start to go back south and end at the park. The 10k will begin at 10.30am and it will follow Carrera 60 out of the park, through the Avenida Esperanza and Avenida Rojas until the finish line at Calle 63.
Many spectators will gather around the Calle 72 and Carrera 15. Traditionally, bogotanos are not very “cheery” when it comes to animating the runners. However, that doesn’t mean people can’t encourage the competitors. On the contrary, it’s an open invitation for onlookers to think of original ways to cheer racers. Bring signs, shout something encouraging, clap, anything to create an encouraging atmosphere.
Join the fun
Everyone is welcome to run in the marathon, and people do it for multiple reasons. Mauricio Vargas, who has been running marathons for the past ten years, said the Media Maratón is a fun experience because all sorts of people participate: from bare-footed individuals, firefighters and soldiers, to people dressed up in costumes and even a guy that runs with an 80s radio with music playing while he runs.
The marathon is an inclusive event, with guide services available for individuals with visual disabilities and a separate wheelchair category. The Media Maratón supports the Soydoy foundation, which in turn supports malnourished children in Colombia, but many competitors run with other charities as well.
Runners will have access to lockers, located in the green area of the west side of the square of the park, as well as 12 service centres located in strategic areas on each route that will offer water, isotonic beverages, bathrooms and first aid care.
The day of the expo, runners will pick up their kit with the shirt and number. Behind the number will be a chip that has all the information on the runner and once the person starts the race, there are sensors that detect the chip until the end of the competition. This state-of-the-art technology is used in the main marathons around the world and even in other competitions like the Giro d’Italia to get the exact times for each person.
In the kit, there will be an option to activate the EventApp by MyLaps so each person’s time scores can be uploaded automatically to Facebook. The app called LiveTracking can help you look at a specific person’s progress. There’s a map and you can look them up and see how far ahead they are. The app can also send you text messages with your time scores.
Santiago Sarmiento, manager at Deportec, the company that provides the chip service, said, “If you go to finalap.com, you can create a user and the system associates all of the races you’ve run to your profile, so you can see all the progress you’ve made through time.”
Registration for the event will be open until July 29. For more information visit www.mediamaratonbogota.com