It all started last Friday night…
We were out at a bonfire having a few drinks while watching some of our British friends attempt to burn a dummy that was supposed to represent GuyFawkes (who apparently attempted to blow up Parliament in the 16th or 17th century). Just your average night.
“You want to run in a marathon tomorrow?”
“Seriously? I don’t think I’m quite in shape to run a marathon.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just a 10k AND it’s for peace!”
Needless to say, I got talked into running. Knowing that I am extremely out of shape and haven’t run in consecutive days in over 5 months was apparently no concern at the time. The couple liters of beer probably didn’t aid in the decision making process.
Sunday morning rolls around and I make it into town to run. Sidenote: this “Peace Marathon” and was kicked off by the mayor throwing doves into the air. Yes, very cheesy. This wasn’t your average run of the mill race. Everything in Peru has to be slightly complicated. For the first 0.5km, there was a marked course through town. People were standing on the sidewalks yelling and cheering for us to keep on running for peace. Once we got out of the town square, things started to get a little more complicated…
Did the race organizers decide to block off traffic so we had a clear path to run along? Of course not! Not only did we have to weave in and out of traffic trying not to get hit by cars making turns, backing out of driveways and pulling over to pick up other people, but we also had to keep our eyes out for random guys with flags standing on the corners trying to explain to us which roads to turn on and what direction to go.
The first fifteen minutes went by without much mention. I felt great. I was excited to be running through town and the adrenaline of competition still hadn’t worn off. A few minutes later, I started to slow down a bit. Apparently marathons (mini-marathons to be honest) are a pretty big deal in Peru. Everyone was sitting on their porches or on their roofs watching the spectacle of thousands of people running for fun and for peace.
Once I began to slow down, the initial cries of “You can do it!” or “Just keep going!” had quickly evolved into “Corre Gringo!” or “Mira el gringo corriendo!”
Translation: “Run white boy!” or “Look at the white guy running!”
55 minutes later and after getting passed by a variety of elderly women and old men in athletic pants, I finally finished. My legs were sore, my lungs were burning and my ego was seriously bruised, but at least I got an awesome free orange tank top in the process.