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M6: Mexico City Marathon

Date: August 27, 2017, 7:00am
Time: 4:04:38 (Pace: 9’12)
Shoes: Nike Flyknit Streak 6, Boston Yellow
Overall Review: 3/5

Registration 4/5
Online registration through active.com, but the official website is hard to find through Google search. $80 registration fee isn’t too bad but a steep hike from 650 MEX ($36) for domestic runners.

Expo 3/5
The expo was held at sports city (Ciudad Deportiva, not far from the airport, but I don’t see an easy way to get there by public transportation). The expo is easy to attend by metro and is of very decent size. Getting race packet is easy, and the volunteer who helped me was very nice.

The runner’s t-shirt was distributed at the expo. It’s sponsored by Adidas, but the fabric feels coarse and unbreathable. I won’t wear it for running. Race packet also includes a pain relief gel, a small bag of energy beans (which I ate during the race), a local magazine, an event guild.

Race Day Organization 2/5
Oh my, where should I start?
1. There is no information in English. Absolutely zero. Nothing on the website, nothing at the expo, nothing on the race guide. It took me half an hour on race day to figure out where is the bag drop area (it’s on the east side preparation area on Pino Suárez).
2. There are way too many people running the race, so many that even when I crossed finish line, I was still rubbing shoulders with other runners. It also turned out that over 5000 runners of the 35K runners were disqualified after the race due to course cutting and other cheating behaviors. Well, that explains a lot.
3. The race is a point-to-point race and to get back to the city center, there is some commuter bus service but there is no sign or information about the commuter bus. I waited in a LONG ling for over half an hour, only to realize that the commuter bus simply takes runners to the nearest metro station, which is just 20 mins walking distance away. So I quitted the line and walked to metro.

Course : Difficulty 2/5
I was fully unaware of the elevation of Mexico City until a month before the race. Holy cow, Mexico City is 2250m above sea level. Since I train at sea level all year round, I had no idea how it would feel to run on such high altitude. Moreover. when I checked out the course elevation map, I also notice that there is about 100m net elevation gain especially a gradual but constant uphill in the last 10K. My race plan was to run at a 30 seconds slower pace than my target pace had it been at sea level and it worked pretty well, there wasn’t too much suffering from the high elevation other than the usual fatigue.

Course : View 4/5
This is a well designed course. The majority of the course is on two main streets of Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma and Av. Insurgentes Sur, with numerous monuments on both main streets, and it takes the runners to run through the iconic Bosque de Chapultepec, pass by Museo Nacional de Antropologí and through the very trendy neighborhood la condesa. It’s not jaw-droppingly beautiful but it shows the sincerity of the race organizer.

Spectators 3/5
I always have some problem with super enthusiastic spectators, especially when I am struggling and all they do is to chanting loudly and making unpleasant noise. It’s kind of like that with the Mexicans, although this time around I do enjoy how enthusiastic they are all the way, especially the last 10K. The only problem is that, they are so enthusiastic that many of them are standing by the two sides of the course and handing out home-made fruits or water bags, making the already crowded course even more so. Imagine you choose to run through the sides to pass fellow runners but then you have to fight over thousands of hands sticking right in front your face.

Medal and Swags 3/5
While I like the irregular shape of the finisher medal, and its iron color engraved with running tracks, I am quite disappointed when I realized that the letter C of this year’s medal is the 5th part of a six year series during which runners will be able to collect the entire word MEXICO. It makes me feel incomplete, that’s all.

There are water bottles and gatorades at the finish line, but not much food supplies and other benefits. I guess it’s hard to feed 35K runners all at once.

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