Yesterday, Teresa and I ran in the 16th Annual Jarabacoa "Marathon of the mountains." It's a 7.8-mile race through Jarabacoa (and over some of its many hills). It was the farthest either of us had ever run and we did it in 77 minutes. Four teachers from our school (Me, Teresa, Steve Chase, and Katie Fluth) ran the race and one (Carrie Rohr) walked. There were also children's divisions running a shorter course. It's certainly quite a bit different than American races. First of all, we had to wait around for over an hour after the "start time" for them to get organized and to listen to various political people talk about something that may have been interesting if we knew more Spanish. At the starting line, there was total confusion between who was starting in the runners and the walkers division and about a dozen people who started with us stopped and went back to start again… right through the rest of us. Just like American races, there are people along the way who'll give you water. That is, if you arrange for somebody to do it for you. Thanks to Erin, Joshua and Emily for helping us out!
Also, most Dominicans have no qualms with cheating. It seems like the mentality is completely goal-oriented, and so many racers try to hop on motorcycles or take shortcuts. To try to prevent this, they have people at various points checking your number to make sure you're running the whole course. Also, we saw some of the "walkers" running in the more remote areas (clearly not allowed).
Probably the most Dominican part, though, is that all along the course there are people (mainly kids) waiting to get you wet. Many of them will ask if you want it and only get you if you say "si," but there are others who just want to soak you no matter what. Throughout the whole course people like this are just standing outside their houses either cheering or taunting. We probably got more than our share of taunts as Americans in the race.
Our goal was just to run the whole thing, so we ran together. It was so great to be doing something challenging together! We could encourage and pace each other and even laugh at some of the weird things Dominicans seem to find funny. So, not only did we finish, but Teresa took 2nd place of the women from Jarabacoa!! When we registered there was some question as to if we were really from Jarabacoa, but the race manager recognized one of us. Teresa insists that I mention there were only 3 women runners from Jarabacoa, but I think it's an unnecessary detail J. So, she got a trophy and money… 10% of our monthly income worth!
After we were done we had to wait around for a couple of hours for them to announce the winners and give the prizes. They have to go over all those records of the checkpoints to make sure nobody cheated, and then go over to the bank to print out the checks. By the time we left, it was almost 7:00 after showing up for the race at 2:15. We went out for pica pollo and then crashed for bed early. So, that was Saturday… another blog coming very soon about Easter!