Saturday, 30 August 2014

San Andres University 8K, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Race: San Andres University 8km, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Distance: 8km
Results Not available

There was a distinctly Scottish feel to this race.
Argentinian Bag pipers with Runner Rushworth. 

I was surprised to see a troop of bag pipe players march out before race start to entertain the crowd. I assumed the pipers were international students but when I went to meet them, they were as Argentinian as Maradona. It seems from this wikipedia post that I'm not the first person to find Scottish Argentines an unusual concept but as i found out, there are plenty of them about.    

The race was an 8km, a distance as unusual as the Argentinian pipers. I've run plenty of 5k's and 10k's but the Argentines like a distance in between. I was super excited to run in Argentina, this was my first race abroad. It was a herculean effort to battle the online language barrier in an effort to gain an entry into the event and a further effort to find the race registration a couple of days earlier, somewhere in the sprawling mass of urbania that they call Buenos Aires. 

Glad to Finish Clutching my Race Loot. 

I was relived to make the start line and started to relax and take it all in. The race began and I felt rough from the beginning. We had traveled some hard paths through Peru and Bolivia and I think we were both a bit travel worn. I hadn't trained at all. It wasn't easy to walk round cities like La Paz in Bolivia because of the altitude, never mind consider training runs. I'd had almost two months off running. 

The lack of training paid its price. By 2k I was labouring, by 5k I was in the WC of a petrol station which I had found on the highway, and by 8k I staggered across the finish line vowing never to race under such circumstances again. I finished in a woeful time of 35 minutes. The pain was offset to some extent by the euphoria of completing my first event on the travel trail. It's an amazing experience whenever you race overseas and to race in South America was a personal achievement despite the slow time. 

Admiring the finish line. 

After the event I took in more of the Scottish/Argentine atmosphere. I got a photo with the race winner Marino Flor. Marino had helped me to find my way to the start line earlier that day. It had taken us ages to find the right train out Buenos Aries. We had travelled some distance into the suburbs and when we alighted at the other end we were very lost. Marino looked like a runner so I asked him for help. I didn't know at that point he was an elite athlete that would go on to win the race but I was grateful for him taking us through the streets to the start at san Andres university. Thanks Marino!