At 2600 meters above sea level, running the 21km of Bogotá’s half marathon is not a feat for those of faint heart or sea level lungs. An endeavour of this magnitude takes time, dedication and above all, acclimatisation. For those not up to competing in the 21km event there is also an alternative Bogota 10km on the same day that takes in a different route bus ends in the same place.
One glance over the top ten finishers will tell you what you already know; the list is smattered with names from traditional distance running powerhouses and high altitude experts from Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.
This year’s favourite in the Men’s category to take home the 21,000,000 Colombian Pesos (US$10,800) of prize money and the Renault Logan is the Kenyan, Paul “the Gentleman” Tergat.
Tergat is the current Marathon World Record holder finishing the prestigious Berlin event in a swift 2:04:55. In addition to this he has two Olympic silver medals for the 10,000m and in 2005 won the New York Marathon.
In the Women’s event the field looks to be more open but two serious challengers are Argentina’s Claudia Camargo and Nataliya Berkut from the Ukraine.
The Event in last year
Men’s Winner – Fabiano Joseph – Tanzania – 01:02:34
Women’s Winner – Catherine Ndereba – Kenya – 01:12:56
A total of 58,000 people participated in both the 21km and 10km courses. This year the organisers are confident that this number will have significantly increased as the popularity of the event continues to grow in this its eighth edition.
What Makes Bogota so Special?
Like most international sporting events a city’s marathon or half marathon will take in the major sites of that location. Bogota is no different. Both the half marathon and the 10km will start in the opulent surroundings of the Plaza de Bolivar, the seat of Colombian power, overshadowed by the Law Courts, the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace in the Candelaria district with Monserrate towering above, click over here.
Continuing from there down Carrera 7 will take the runners past the world renowned Gold Museum, the National Museum, past the Javeriana University and through the Chapinero district.
The route then moves west before returning back into the wealthy zones of Northern Bogota and towards the elite Country Club. The big turn for the homecoming to the finish line occurs around Pasadena and then through Salitre before the final stretch into the verdant refuge of the expansive Parque Simon Bolivar.
Here at the finish line like in next year there will be a jamboree and celebrations for the runners and well wishers with Colombian artists putting on a concert with all the dancing that can only be conjured in a Latin country.
One only hopes that the weather holds and the runners are presented with a clear and crisp Bogota day.