Running around Mexico

Before I moved to Mexico three years ago, I was a runner. I ran in several fun races a year – 5k, 10k, 21k. I even participated in a sprint triathlon, just to see what it was like. (I hated the swimming part, so I’ll never do that again.) But I really enjoyed signing up for the fun runs that offered something fun for after the race – hot apple cider, chocolate, beer, doughnuts – I mean who doesn’t love a cold beer after running 4 miles on a brutally cold and windy St. Patrick’s Day or taking home a pumpkin pie after running a few miles on a brisk Thanksgiving Day morning. Those fun perks and prizes added to the enjoyment of running in fun runs with my family and friends. But I knew that when I moved to Mexico, that would all end.

We ran the BJX21K in León in April 2019. My children ran the kid’s 1k fun run, my husband ran the 10k, and I ran the 5k. Photo by Angela Grier.

I was an idiot (insert facepalm). After a couple of months of settling in, I realized that the city shuts down major streets for a marathon at the end of September. And from what I could see, there were a lot of runners participating. So I decided to figure out how I could participate too. It turns out there are many races that take place in León and in the surrounding towns and cities, not to mention races all over the country. My mind was blown. Race entries for the various races can be purchased at local sporting goods stores; which one depends on the store that is sponsoring the race. Race entries can also be purchased online through the Márcate app.

Once the pandemic hit and in-person races ended, many of the local races became virtual. All I had to do was record my time with my fitness watch and submit my data in the Márcate app. The race packets were shipped to my house after my race data was received. Virtual races opened up many more opportunities for me to participate in some of the fun runs that are found in other parts of Mexico. And some of those races offered some pretty cool race swag that was also shipped to my house – beer, tequila, wine, cool medals, and beautifully designed shirts or jackets. I love that I will have fun clothing to wear when we return to the US that will remind me of how much fun I have had running here in Mexico.

We ran 21k for the BJX21K in April 2021. The race was virtual this year and we decided to run around a large, beautiful lake in León’s Parque Metropolitano. A lot of other runners for this virtual race had the same idea and it was fun to see so many others running while wearing the race shirt. Since this is a local race, I picked up my race packet before the virtual race weekend instead of having it shipped. Photo by Angela Grier.

I finally ran the León marathon myself this year. I had planned to run it in 2020, but of course, that didn’t work out. So I continued training for another year, determined to run in 2021. Luckily, the Covid numbers dropped enough that they decided to have an in-person race – the first in-person race in León since the pandemic started. My husband and I ran with some friends and a few thousand other people. It was glorious! Everyone was so excited and there was so much positive energy in the air. It was wonderful to be there. The race culture in Mexico is truly amazing and the support I received when I ran through the city streets was incredibly moving. So many people that I didn’t know, and a couple that I did, stood along the 42 km route for hours with signs and noisemakers, just to show their support for the runners. At one point, around km 26, a small boy and his grandfather ran beside me for a little while, shouting encouragement and cheering me on. The race was magical and I am so happy that I was finally able to run in the full León marathon. It’s just one more thing I love about living in Mexico. Now I’m ready to train for my next fun race – perhaps the 10k trail run in the Sierra de Lobos….

Published by Angela.Grier

I'm a wife of an engineer and a mom of two elementary-aged children, a boy and a girl. I was a fisheries biologist for several years, a stay-at-home mom for three years, then a middle school science teacher for three years. I currently live in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico with my family. I have a WIDE variety of interests, too many according to my husband. I quilt, crochet, knit, scrapbook. I sometimes play piano when I need peaceful moments. I love to cook, especially anything containing eggs (someday I need to raise chickens in order to feed my egg addiction). I read voraciously, books of all genres from Stephen King to Robert Jordan, Libba Bray to Edward Robertson, Grace Burrowes to Kim Harrison. I like to run, especially in races (I'm only a little competitive). I love to fish, camp, and hike wherever there are wild spaces. And if there were more hours in the day, I'd probably fill those extra hours learning a new skill or revisiting the ones I did not include in this list because it's been so long since I last did them.

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