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Galápagos National Park is located in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador. About 20 million years ago, deep sea volcanoes caused multiple eruptions that created the Galapagos archipelago. The Galapagos Islands consist of a cluster of over 60 islands and islets. Charles Darwin explored the Galapagos in … MORE
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    Fitbrit FIRST-TIMER '16

    First of all don't miss the mandatory briefing the night before the race. There will be lots of unexpected details that you will need to remember. With the temperatures hitting … MORE

    First of all don’t miss the mandatory briefing the night before the race. There will be lots of unexpected details that you will need to remember.
    With the temperatures hitting 90’s throughout our trip , we asked to push the start 30 minutes earlier. Our RD Devay agreed surprisingly. With that we left our Casa de La Marita lodgings on Isabella Island at 6:00 AM. That gave us 40 minutes to drive on mostly if not all dirt roads up to the Galápagos Sierra Negra volcano national park.
    Now since this is actually an unofficial official marathon, our bathroom stop was a few hundred yards before the park gate in bushes or what looked like someone’s back yard.
    It was here that we were allowed a few minutes to stretch. Not for long however.
    Since we were being discreet, no bib numbers were given and we were asked to nonchalantly walk past the officials once we entered the entrance of the park.
    From there we walked about 200 yds around the corner where we were out of sight.
    From here we could see our steep red dirt trail that we would have to climb , you had better like hills if you are thinking to run this race.
    The temperature was warm but not as hot as other days perhaps about 78-79 degrees but very humid.
    All 6 half marathoners and 12 full marathoners lined up and it was a quick ready set go.
    I wanted to get ahead as my strength is running up hills but not descending them especially steep hills.
    Our trail up was tough and about a mile in length. From there we had uneven dirt rolling hills to the rim of the volcano.
    We ran at least a 1.5 mile loop across the sharp, rugged lava rock. We were told that walking this part might be our best bet for not falling or hurting ourselves.
    This was by far a very technical part of the course.
    One of the runners just 2 steps in front of me fell on his face but he recovered well.
    It was a really tough and hot part of the race but offered spectacular views of the 2nd largest active volcano in the world . I believe the rim is 9.2 km wide, an immense area.
    I didn’t want to stop for too long as there were runners on my tail but I did recorded some video of the trail and the volcano.
    At the turn around point which is about 4.75 miles , is a scary sheer drop cliff top view of a few hundred feet. The trail is about 12 inches wide and don’t even think to run around the loose gravel turn.
    Now you run a small loop where one of the staff gives you a badge to show you made the loop.
    Now it’s time to navigate your way across the rough lava back to the trail and see the runners heading toward you. All of us were offering support and recognition to our fellow runners. It reminded me of Antarctica.
    I forgot to mention our water stop of H2o and coke was at mile 3.5 and at 7 to fill up your camel backs or water bottles.
    I filled mine twice and drank constantly.
    As I was running back on the trail the humidity increased but so did the clouds, offering a light drizzle and much appreciated cooling.
    I spotted the occasional yellow finch flying next to me but that was all the wildlife I spotted in the park but on the trail down I spotted a pig, chickens and a rooster.
    However I never took my eyes off the trail as there were many crevices and rocks to trip over.
    Since this is a National park , coming back we ran into bus loads of hiker tourists on their way up to the volcano who by the way never moved over to make way for you.
    Once I ran down the steep decline back to the gate ( now at about mile 10) I left the park and ran past our bathroom area and out house. The road was dirt but not too difficult. I saw a few houses and an occasional truck came by.
    My legs were tired , possibly from our almost 7 mile steep run a few days before.
    I did walk a few spots but not for long . There was some shade along the downward road and lots of trees.
    The finish is on an incline but it’s not so steep.
    Refreshments of fruit, Oreo cookies, noodle soup were provided and some chairs to rest up on.
    From here we were carted off to the finish line to shower and wait for the full marathoners to finish.
    Overall a very unique experience . No t.shirts were given but we did all get a turtle necklace with the Galápagos marathon etched on the back.
    The full marathon had even more technical areas of jungle and lava tunnel to run through. Plus the local kids changed the arrows and stole the ribbons making it really hard for all the runners go follow the course.
    If you are looking for a hot humid unique run ,consider this one it was one of my favorites.
    The total incline for the half was 1,010 ft and estimate the decline to be about 2,000 ft. The full marathon had a little more incline but for the most part the 2nd half had mostly downhill to finish but had a 3 mile jungle to get run that had no trail just head high ferns and trees to push away to get through. Looked like lots of fun to me.
    My first 1st woman in a race finish.

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  1. Races
  2. Sierra Negra Volcano Galapagos Marathon & Half Marathon