I'm back (For real this time)

Event Stats:
Name Maraton de Santiago
Date 04/05/2009
Location Santiago, Chile
Event Marathon
Finish Time 04:19:05

After biting through the last one, my training over the last month has been pretty consistent, my back/leg/knee problem is getting better, so I felt confident I would actually race the Maraton De Santiago.

I arrived in Santiago on Friday and have a hotel that is 2 blocks from the start line and 4 from the expo, so everything was pretty much stress-free. Picking up the kit took 2 minutes, the problem with the misspelling of my name was resolved in 30 seconds (and in perfect English, as about everything here)

The expo revealed that of the roundabout 12.000 participants, about 6.000 would run the 10k, and another 4.500 the half-marathon , so that there would actually be only 1.500 runners for the marathon. But, giving out identical t-shirts to all participants , the crowd in all media coverage will look huge. Very slick ;-)

Also, and I'm sure this is the beginning of a trend, chip time was not done with champion-chip but with a one-way 3x4cm plastic card. And yes, i did take it apart after the race, and yes it is a simple RFID.

I didn't sleep to well the night before, so I traded some extra nap-time for solid food. Breakfast therefore consisted just of a liter of coke.

Left the hotel 30 minutes before the race, got to the starting line to watch the usual spectacle of runners trying to desperately inflict some last-minute injuries to themselves (they call that 'stretching') and off we went.

The first couple of km's the race is on on the alameda, a big, 4 lane road, so that congestion was no issue at all. I didn't even bother to bring a HRM; since the objective for today was to run the whole distance without a time goal I figured, PE would do. I managed to stick to a 6 min/km pace pretty well for the first half, reaching the halfway point in 2:07.

A little earlier than expected, people started crumbling right from the halfway point on. At around km26, the 4:15 train - very small, and a bit ahead of time - passed me, and I stayed with it for the next 10k, before letting it get away to take a pee. Aside from that break, I think I was passed by only 2 runners in the second half, which is quite nice.

Nutrition went pretty well, sticking to Gatorade every 5km and 3 gels (km 21, 29, 37), I only really felt a bit weak between km 38 an 40. Somehow I missed the 41km mark and suddenly was able to see the 42km arch ahead of me. Picked up the pace, passed about 25 more runners on the last 700 meters, including a 'Markus R. memorial sprint' to the finish line for a total time of 4:19:05. Certainly not a great time, but that was not the objective.

Now, after beer,steak, fries, coke, shower and nap (in that order), I feel quite happy and am looking for the next one (D'dorf in May) and ultimately, IM Lanzarote.

Race conditions: 4/5

Santiago is famous for having smog year round. Not today. The sky was clear, the view fantastic. In the sun it was rather warm, maybe 25-30C, in the shadow even slightly cool, maybe around 18C. A major downside is that almost all of the race is run on concrete.

Scenery: 3/5

Santiago is a very nice city, the marathon takes a nice route, a good deal of the streets are line with trees. But is is still a city marathon, so not really spectacular.

Difficulty: 4/5

The course is pretty flat, road quality is OK, but, as mentioned above, it is all concrete. So yes, a fast time is very well doable, but it might hurt some more than usual.

Information: 5/5

Website in English, expo and start right in the center of the city at metro stops, a flag waving volunteer every 50 meters or so, large km marker. Race results the same day. Perfect.

Finisher medal: 4/5 (3/5)

Good medal for international standards, for South America very good

Goodies: 5/5

Just paper in the race kit. But entry came with a very good quality adidas clima-cool shirt. And entry was just 23$. Which is considerable lower than the value of the shirt. And no, shirts cost (at least) the same here than anywhere else.

The Cheer: 3/5

The cheer at the start was fantastic, later, when only the marathoners were running, considerable less. But there still was a cheer, and also notably from the people living at the race course. 4 bands along the course were announced. I saw one, plus one stage, where clearly a band had played, but not anymore when I passed.

Overall: 8/10

If you feel the urge to run a marathon is South America, so far this is the one I would recommend. Very well organized and in a friendly city that is safe and easy to get around without speaking Spanish.