01 April 2016, 7am
Medio Maratón Internacional Guadalajara
Sun 21 February 2016
All this combines harmoniously with modern influences. Guadalajara has perfectly adapted to the passing of the years without losing the spirit that makes her unique: she knows she is the window through which the world gets its first impressions of the whole country.
The tapatíos, as people from Guadalajara are known, are passionate about sport and in recent times have found that urban marathons have presented new opportunities to enjoy the magnificent ancient buildings and monuments as well as the new architectural innovations that have enriched the city. People from all different ages and backgrounds who participate in these marathons feel the experiences that, past and present, unify tradition and modernity. They reinvigorate the emotional bonds of living in a city where they are not only spectators but also enthusiastic participants helping to project its international reputation and the improving quality of life.
The race is an event organized by the government of the city and has been launched with the purpose of providing runners with a full community experience. The idea is to combine physical and mental freedom in the challenge of the distance. There is a joyful sense of people proudly and loudly declaring: “we are the city” to their fellow citizens and visitors alike.
The wide tree-lined avenues through which the marathon passes take runners past important landmarks and iconic places which will be lodged in the memories of the runners and of spectators. From early morning people line the sides of the roads to scream encouragement, clap, wave banners and sing songs to support the runners quite independently of the various musical and animation groups.
The new route for the half marathon has been designed as a circuit with the intention that spectators, especially friends and families of local runners, could more easily appreciate the efforts of their loved ones along the route and could better express their support. Moreover, the runners’ progression past the city’s emblematic places allows them to “feel in their legs” the inspiring aesthetic of the place. It helps to clear their minds and make the accumulating tiredness more bearable, reducing the ‘emotional’ distance remaining.
The start and finish is at the magnificent monument called La Minerva erected in honour of the Roman goddess of wisdom. It is an enormous fountain, 74m in diameter, in the middle of which haughtily stands the eight-metre high statue of the goddess. The fountain is surrounded by a garden sown with blue agave, the plant from which Mexico’s most famous drink is made: tequila. Statue, fountain and garden form a square at the crossroads of the most important avenues of the city. Many large shows and gatherings take place here. A dedication “To the Glory of Guadalajara” has been engraved on the monument but could be rephrased as “To the Glory of the Runners” since it is where their odyssey starts after hearing the starting shot. It is also to where they return after fulfilling the challenge to share memorable moments with families and friends both personally and through social media. Another dedication engraved on La Minerva reads: “Justice, Wisdom and Strength Guard this Loyal City” which on the day of the event re-emphasises that the goddess affords the same protection for the runners as for the city — both anxious and fresh in their departure and exhausted but happy at the end.
One of the pleasures of participating in this race is running across the urban bridges that are much more than utilitarian structures to facilitate traffic. The first of them, known as Puente Matute Remus, honours a tapatío engineer who managed to physically move the headquarters of a phone company without the employees having to stop work. It is more than 900m long, 7m high and 26m wide and built in an avant-garde style that makes it look like a piece of urban art designed to enhance the city. Another aesthetic high point is the vehicular bridge beside the Arcos del tercer milenio, a monumental urban sculpture consisting of four metal arches, up to 52m high, which is the work of the famous Mexican artist Sebastián.
The XXX Electrolit International Half Marathon Guadalajara has for 30 years celebrated the anniversary of the founding of the city on 14 February. It has everything a runner can feel passionate about in its motto: “Running is Power”. Having the opportunity of running in Guadalajara has been a heartwarming experience for all, shared by runners with joyfulness and liberty.
|DE LA ROSA