Marathon Date: November 4, 2007
My Age: 71
My Finish Time: 4:40 * I finished 6th in my age group
My Marathon Rating: Worst race course
Memorable Moment: Having to walk over 2 miles after the marathon to catch a taxi back to my hotel.
Lessons Learned: Ensure you clearly understand how to get from the finish line to where you are staying. In some cases there is no transportation [taxis, buses, etc] available at the finish line to take you back to where you are staying
Marathon selection and registration:
For my 9th worldwide marathon I decided to do a marathon in South America, which would be my 5th continent. I looked at doing my South American marathon in Argentina, Chile, or Brazil but after spending a lot of time researching the 3 countries marathons I decided on doing the Buenos Aires, Argentina marathon on November 4, 2007. I was very surprised, and happy, to find out that the Buenos Aires marathon race manager had invited me to be his guest and they would take care of my registration – my race # was 3077.
Marathon Training Program:
I used my standard 18-week 750-mile training program for my Buenos Aires marathon. I was very fortunate that I did not have any major injuries before, during, and after I completed the 18-week 750 mile training program.
I flew from San Diego to Dallas and then on to Buenos Aires on American Airlines – the total flight time took 15 hours. The flight was a good flight with no bad weather and I was able to get about 2 hours sleep during the flight. When we arrived in Buenos Aires on October 31st at 8am, the weather was 70 and sunny with the weather outlook for the rest of the week being sunny and in the 70’s. I took a taxi to my hotel, which took about 45 minutes due to the bumper-to-bumper traffic along the way. I stayed in the Sheraton Libertador Hotel, which is centrally located in the city and is walking distance to most of the Burroughs. The hotel upgraded my room to one of the best rooms in the hotel because my room was not ready for me when I arrived – also gave me 2 bottles of wine and a bowl of fruit – very nice gesture from them. The hotel has a gym and indoor swimming pool on the top floor of the hotel. Spent my free time while in Buenos Aires sightseeing all of the major sights.
I took a taxi went to the Expo [Roca Park] two days before the marathon to pick up my Chip and race number. In the literature that was sent to me the race management recommended that we take the train to the Expo to the start of the race. The staff in my hotel recommended that I take a taxi instead due to the many breakdowns of the trains. The taxi ride took about 40 minutes to get there, as there was a lot of traffic heading out of the city as it would be very difficult to catch another taxi from the Expo back to my hotel I paid the driver to wait for me assuming it would only take very little time to get my race number and chip. Getting my race # and chip was a nightmare there were at least 4 different very long lines and I was told to get in one of them by a volunteer after 20 minutes I found out I was in the wrong line. and once I got in the right line I picked up my # and chip. The Expo was very small with only a few booths so it wasn’t worth me spending anymore time there.
The night before the marathon I went out for my pre race Pasta at a highly recommended restaurant just down the street from my hotel – the Pasta was very good. After eating I walked around the area for about an hour and went back to my hotel. I would have to wake up at 5am in order for me to get a light breakfast and to catch my taxi ride to the race start at Roca Park where the Expo was held. It was very cold the morning of the marathon so I wore a number of throw away shirts and pants just to keep warm. There were quite a few runners who came earlier than I did – most of the runners came from South American countries.
The race started at exactly 7:30am and the runners left the park and went up a long hill and onto the main highway, which was closed off for the race. The racecourse was laid out so that it completely avoided the city center, where all great sites and beautiful barrios are located. The racecourse is a point-to-point course that starts at the Expo [Roca Park] in an unsafe neighborhood and then went on to the main elevated highway for the first 10 miles. For the first 6 miles of running up long ramps on the highway I was running at a 4:30 marathon pace, which was my finish time goal. The weather turned colder with stiff breezes along the way, which made it difficult running up the highway ramps.
We left the highway at mile 13 and entered some of the city roads, which had potholes everywhere – the roads were terrible to run on. They did have water at every 5k-point in the race but along the highway and along the city roads there were literally no people to cheer you on – it was almost like running my weekly long runs alone. At the halfway point I was running at a 10minute/mile pace which would be a 4:22 marathon – about 8 minutes ahead of my planned race goal of 4:30. The race route eventually took us along the waterfront with some very bad running conditions.
At mile 20 I was still on pace for a 4:22 marathon but I was starting to get some pains and cramps in my hamstrings. After mile 22 I had to slow down in order to ensure that I finished the race by running all 26.2 miles. After running the last few miles in pain I finally crossed the finish line in a time of 4:40 [6th in my age group]. After finishing the race I went looking for the food that was promised us at registration – there was no food they ran out of it – all I received was a bottle of water. Getting my clothes that I left at the start of the race to change into was mass confusion – the people giving out the clothes would call out a number and then throw it out to the crowd – finally someone went and got the race manager and he setup lines by race numbers. After about an hour of standing around waiting to receive my clothes I changed into my dry clothes and was off to my next adventure – to find transportation to get me back to my hotel.
I asked around as to how I would be able to catch a taxi or a bus to get back to my hotel and I was told that I would have to walk about 2-3 miles to get to the main highway where I would be able to catch a taxi or a bus back to my hotel. After about an hour of walking I finally approached the main highway only to find hundreds of runners waiting to catch a taxi or the local bus. After about another hour of waiting I finally caught a cab and got back to my hotel. Once at the hotel I showered and went up to the pool to relax my legs.