An incredible 7000 runners participated in this weekend’s Maratón de Barranquilla, separated into four distance stages of 5k, 10k, 21k, and a whopping 42k. The 5k was on Saturday; a leisurely recreational event, and on Sunday, the real running began, with start times as early as 0400am, beginning and finishing at the Puerta de Oro Malecón.

Starting the Maratón de Barranquilla
An early morning start to the marathon

As I was running the 10k, my heat began at 0600am and though it was still dark as we took off, it didn’t last; as everyone knows, the sun rises quickly here on the coast and once I had passed the halfway point it was broad daylight.

Typical of events here on the coast, this year’s Maratón de Barranquilla was bathed in a super positive atmosphere. All along the route were people applauding and giving support to the runners, chanting and clapping, and of course, given our proximity to Carnaval, there were tons of Carnaval characters all around, dancing to the familiar sounds of the city at this time of year.

Carnaval characters at Maratón de Barranquilla
One of the usual Carnaval characters having fun

The finish line was really well organized with lots of people on hand supporting the participants in everything from hydration to first aid to pain relief. There was lots of water and Gatorade, bananas galore, and even professional leg massages.

Water at Maratón de Barranquilla
Friendly people from Crystal passing out water

In fact, there was even an ice bath for runners who wanted to cool down. It was there that I met Jack Solano from Barranquilla who had just run the 21K.

Jack Solano at the Maratón de Barranquilla
Runner Jack Solano colling down after running the 21k

Jack told me.. “The ice bath is great for cooling down your muscles after a long run. I was hoping to finish today at 1 hour 48 minutes but it took me a little longer then I was hoping and I finished at 1:54. I run a lot of these types of races. Lately I’ve been to Bogota amongst other cities, and we are also planning on going to Panama.”

I also ran into Rafael González at the Gatorade stand. He had just finished the 10k. (featured photo) He told me – “I’ve lost count of all of my races but it’s probably around 40 by now.

Not everyone who starts the race finishes it. I talked to the chief of the medical service José Estrada (to the left) who was helping a runner who had had to drop out.

José Estrada at the Maratón de Barranquilla
Medical worker José Estrada (red hat) speaks with a runner

José said, “Luckily we don’t get too many incidents with people who are seriously injured, maybe just two or three cases, which is normal with 7000 runners. Most of the people who have problems are the ones running the 42k. It’s a big challenge for the body and the muscles. Many unfortunately don’t prepare themselves sufficiently beforehand, and in this humidity, it can be enough to cost them the race.”

I also spoke to Angie Ribiero, one of the people helping exhausted runners like me.

Angie Ribeiro at the Maratón de Barranquilla
Angie Ribeiro doling out a massage to a runner

Angie – “We’re helping with muscle recovery. The back, thigh and calf muscles are the ones that are most important for runners to take care of. We also use ice to cool them down. And when you’re done here with me it’s important that you eat bananas and drink a lot of liquids.”

Passing out bananas at Maratón de Barranquilla
The team from Megatiendas passing out bananas

For me personally the race went okay. I was clocked at about 43 minutes which is far from my personal best a few years ago at 38:45. Maybe next year. Stay tuned on the site for more sports events.

Oscar Lindgren Ortiz at Maratón de Barranquilla
Me with my medal just after finishing the 10k

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Swedish Colombian sports journalist with a particular passion for football. I've travelled to three Fifa World Cups and the two latest Copa América to follow la selección de Colombia. I run the sports desk for Barranquilla Now, and on the side, I teach English.

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