Father-Son Running Weekend (in Guatemala)

Twice a year Panajachel, Guatemala hosts a series of races called "Maraton Atitlan". Registrants run either a 5K, 10K, or 15K on Saturday or a 21K (half marathon) or 42K (full marathon) on Sunday. The races were this past weekend. I registered for the 21K about two weeks earlier. 

 A sign promoting Maraton Atitlan

A sign promoting Maraton Atitlan

Like other races I've run in Guatemala you go to the bank and deposit money into the organizer's account in order to register for the race. The 21K cost Q120 (about $15 USD) and included chip timing, a tech tee, and a cool ceramic finishers medal.

Last Friday was packet pickup day and I took my son, Tag, with me. While there Tag announced he wanted to run the 5K, and he wanted me to run it with him. He wanted to run it so he could get Gatorade and, in case he won the race, he would also get money. I told him there would be people faster than me running the 5K, but he did not waiver. He wanted to run the race even if he had no chance of winning. He wanted to run the race just to run (and for the free Gatorade).

The race director said that I could run beside him without registering so we signed him up. 

 Tag registering for his first race, the Atitlan Maraton 5K

Tag registering for his first race, the Atitlan Maraton 5K

I had to register him as part of the 18-29 year old age group because it was the youngest group they had (he's only 6 years old).

Tag went to bed that night excited and woke up asking "Is today the day of the race?". He was even more excited when I told him yes. That afternoon I talked him out of running in his crocs, fastened on his race bib and we headed to the starting line.

 Tag and I in the corral. He had his game face on.

Tag and I in the corral. He had his game face on.

3, 2, 1...the race began. I told him we needed to start off slow because it's a long race. He did not heed my advice. We took off and were passing people left and right.

 Tag in mid stride at full speed.

Tag in mid stride at full speed.

He managed to keep up that pace for about a 1/4 mile then he realized he could not hold it. He quickly slowed to a trot then a walk.

 His expression says it all. He was out of gas, temporarily. 

His expression says it all. He was out of gas, temporarily. 

We walked/jogged until he saw some unexpected cheerleaders.

 Mick and her girlfriends cheering on Tag

Mick and her girlfriends cheering on Tag

He high-fived his sister and picked up the pace.

 He was so excited, and Ela was excited for him.

He was so excited, and Ela was excited for him.

Soon we reached a turn around point with a refreshment table. The locals working the station thought he was so cute and kept talking about him in Spanish the whole time we were there.

 The table was stocked with water and Deporade (a competitor to Gatorade). After the race, Tag complained that he didn't get enough Gatorade. Then he complained that "Nobody told me I could have more."

The table was stocked with water and Deporade (a competitor to Gatorade). After the race, Tag complained that he didn't get enough Gatorade. Then he complained that "Nobody told me I could have more."

Tag drank down his beverage and we headed towards the finish. About a 1/4 mile from the end of the race he told me that he had to go to the bathroom...BAD...and NOW! There were no porta potties close by so we ducked into a nearby hotel to use their facilities.

This turned out to be a rather long stop. I waited outside for 14 minutes while he did his business.

 My view of Tag for 14 minutes...mid-race.

My view of Tag for 14 minutes...mid-race.

He emerged ready to go. There was not far to go and he was determined to jog the rest of the way until...

 More cheerleaders for Tag!

More cheerleaders for Tag!

When he saw them he broke into a sprint and finished the race strong!

 Tag was on fire after seeing our friends.

Tag was on fire after seeing our friends.

He was so excited when he finished and I was too. I love running and have never pushed either of our kids into the sport. I could not have been a prouder Dad when he asked me to run his first race with him, except for maybe when we finished together. It was an experience I will not forget.

My Race

The 21K was bright and early the next morning. It was a beautiful and brutal race. It was run on a hilly road that is almost parallel to the lake. Altitude ranged from 5,100-5,400 feet.

 My 21K results from my Garmin.

My 21K results from my Garmin.

The competition was great. The first place winner finished in 1:26 which is a fantastic time on this course. While I was not overly pleased with my time it was good enough to put me on the podium for the 40-49 year old age group. The weather was great and the scenery on the run could not be beat. I love a challenging course, so I did not mind the hills.

 Yes there were more than two of us in the age group...and yes, I am a giant in Guatemala.

Yes there were more than two of us in the age group...and yes, I am a giant in Guatemala.

Coming in 2nd earned me a pretty cool trophy made of wood and ceramics as well as a gift certificate for two breakfasts at a local hotel. This pretty much made the race free for me. Can't beat that.

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