Monday, March 09, 2009

Duendes 5k & 10K, reportage.

Duendes del Valle, a non-profit sports event-organizing company had organized 5K and 10K events on Sunday, the 8th of March 2009 at Calz. del Valle, San Pedro. The event was a very special one and it was nothing like I had seen before, read on for more.

The event was scheduled to start at 7:15AM and we were at the venue at 7, stretching our muscles and jumping to the beats of loud heart-pounding music. The sea of people were following the aerobic steps of few pretty-looking athetic- shaped ladies on the stage. At 7:10, the Mexican national anthem, "El Grito de Guerra" was sang by a certain well dressed gentelman. When the start time was nearing, the MC started counting ...5...4...3...2...1...Dhummmmmm!!!

Previous 10K, I had finished in 49'35" and I was hoping to improve on that. My target was 45 min and naturally, I followed the pacer holding 45 min board. For the uninitiated, pacers are the expert runners who helps the runners to maintain the timings. So if you wanna finish the race in 50 min, follow the pacer with 50min board and stop worrying about timings. I followed the pacer for probably first 4KM and then I couldn't hold my pace, I slowed down. I just hoped that the 50 min pacer should not overtake me, he never did.

There were loads of entertainment for the runners. There were samba drummers dressed in colourful attire dishing out some popular numbers like "Un, dos, tres...ole, ole, ole", there were 2 other Mexican bands at each end of the circuit playing Ranchera-Norteña genre music. There were gorgeous cheer girls of Banamex shouting "Animo!!! Animo!!!" for us. There was a large screen at Calz. San Pedro circle, with a live feed or the event where each runner could see himself running. There were Gatorade counters suppling the runners with energizing lemon flavoured Gatorade and water packets were given every half kilometer. Above all, there was a huge crowd which kept applauding and cheering, which greatly raised our spirits.

I touched the finish line, panting and gasping when the clock showed 49' 10". I had mixed feelings, happy for 25" improvement than last time, sad for not having done in 45 min which was my target. Our chips were stripped-off from our shoes, by volunteers and we walked towards the relaxing area. We were given medal, fruits, Gatorade and water. Medal was very disappointing, first of all it was made of rubber, which was more of a key-chain than a medal. Secondly, they didn't distinguish between 5K and 10K events.

After relaxing, I head to the car and got the camera. The 5K event had started by then and it was very unique. At the first gun shot, the fast runners started the race, at the second gun shot which was delayed by 5 minutes, an ocean of people with families started the race. There were 5 year olds, 8 year olds, middle aged ones, old aged ones - all pacing the circuit by walking, jogging and few of them running. There were fathers and mothers running with their baby-strollers and babies were rapturously smiling. Some were stopping by for getting balloons for the kids, some were carrying their kids on shoulders, some walked with dogs, some walked with baby-backpacks.

The ambience was warm, friendly and pleasing, the weather was perfect with mild morning sunlight, people were smiling and cheering and happy with their families. I had never seen a marathon like this, which was so family oriented and it was a great feeling to be there. Thanks Liyan for lending her Canon SD1100IS, for shooting the event.

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