Signed up for a 5k recently. Normally my running is done solely at Parque de Salud as perhaps the only thing more treacherous to South American walkers/runners than the sidewalks is the traffic.
It’s a nice park. You need an ID to get signed in and present it again when leaving. Has some security on hand, so it’s safe. It’s a fairly swell place to run small distances as it has a 1,500 meter course, nicely shaded by trees, that is shaped more like, say, Paraguay than a proper oval or circle. It has some downhill and uphill parts and swell little markers every 100m, making it great for some interval work as well as just jogging.
The 5k, held by the American School of Asuncion, was fun because they blocked off traffic and you could run riot over the streets that comprised the course. It is a weird feeling running on Espana, comfortably, rather than the normal darting across it, terrified of becoming a local’s newest hood ornament.
First thing that struck me as odd was out of 1,500+ runners, Katie and I were two of maybe 40 people *NOT* to wear the shirt handed out in the Swag Bag. Apparently Droz (think way back to PCU) has never visited Asuncion and informed the peeps when going to a concert, you don’t wear a t-shirt of the band you are going to see. (Side note, the value of the items in the Swag Bag exceeded the cost of racing. I paid $20 and got an UnderArmour tech shirt, mate, about 5 free bottles of Gatorade, and other goodies.)
The other thing that struck me was the pre-race warm-up was reminiscent of what I’ve read (or seen, going back farther than PCU to Michael Keaton’s 1986 flick Gung Ho)… some trainers on a stage with music and headset mics got a crowd of 200+ to follow along. Was odd.
Race itself was fine. I did better than anticipated, particularly considering my legs were still horribly sore from Friday Night Futbol 38 hours prior. Although another issue was race etiquette. The throng of peoples got bottlenecked out the gate, causing those in the back to Walking Dead Zombie Saunter for 2+ minutes before we could actually open up and start even jogging.
Further, no one seems to get the concept of “slow people on the right.” It is annoying while jogging in Salud, but was infuriating at the race where a huge chunk of the first two miles required an awful lot of lateral movement to avoid plowing into people.
But I finished, running the streets of Asuncion without getting run over or plowing into anyone. Hooray me.