Rick, from Come to Galapagos tells us his story of organising the Come To Galapagos Marathon.
We held the second annual Come to Galapagos Marathon here recently. At the awards ceremony, held directly after the event (actually started before the last three runners finished at 6 plus hours) my wife fainted from a combination of heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration and was raced to the hospital. She wasnt running the marathon, she was making it happen. I didnt know about her collapse, I was coaching the last three runners home on my ATV which had become a mobile aid station. I had water, Gatorade, bananas, my cell phone button ready to call the alerted ambulance. We live on the equator. It was near noon. I was scared one of them would just plop over, as my wife had which again I didnt know.
The reason I had become a mobile aid station was an older corporal (as in not going any further with his career) in the navy was so hot to get to watch a soccer game on TV that he swung by with the truck and cleaned/picked up the last four aid stations while there were still 15 marathon runners attempting to finish the course. His excuse was that one of the aid stations had just run out of water, water I had with me to deliver before the first of those last fifteen arrived at that station. If they dont have water, what good are the aid stations? he asked. I chose just handling it as my best option over the discussion which I wanted to have with this man. There were only fifteen runners left spread over the last 10 kilometres and on the ATV I was mobile, I could cover the entire 10 kilometres every fifteen minutes.
I spent two hours racing around the course, hydrating these fifteen valiant racers, checking on their ability to trot/walk/speak coherently as often as I deemed prudent for their safety and ability to enjoy the accomplishment they were attempting.
I watched the last two runners cross the finish line as I was being informed my wife was in the hospital. I asked, Is she in or at the hospital? No, shes IN the hospital. She collapsed, was the response. Shes fine, recovered, but I instantly remembered how I was joking with the crew the night before after wed forced her to go get some sleep at midnight before the race. We all had to be on at 4 AM just a few hours later. Id said my wife was real burnt and that we were only half burnt which got a chuckle out of everyone as we were all, to my relief laughingly over done. We have to do a better job of organizing and delegating next year, cant have all these wonderful people plopping over or feeling like a piece of burnt toast.
It was incredible how hard so many people worked for this, many without monetary compensation and many who were being paid going far far beyond their contractual obligations.
This year we received quite a bit more media attention than we did last year which gave us the extra work of receiving and entertaining famous personalities. We received the Ecuadorean equivalent of Opera and Regis. Universally all of them, from the camera mans helper to the star of the show were incredibly gracious, appreciative and enthusiastic about the marathon. The Come to Galapagos Marathon is going to be featured in a popular Ecuadorian TV show next week!
Two journalists, one from the best selling newspaper and the other from the best selling news magazine here in Ecuador are working on articles about the marathon and both have expressed an interest in publishing articles about our company and what we are doing vis a vis developing sustainable economies here, our work with energy conservation, bioclimatic building practices and our efforts to improve educational opportunities here.We had a Japanese runner and her media assistant filming her running for a spot on an adventure sports program in Japan.
None of these people have/had any idea about the aid station removal. They thought it was my planned personal touch as race director for the final few limping in.
It has been suggested to me that we ought to have a trophy for the last finisher. The trophies this year were hand carved tortoises with wings. You get the reference here to the hare and the tortoise racing kids story, I hope.
The town was happy, the runners were happy. Were happy. It looks like this years marathon, a 45 thousand dollar value, will have cost us only a couple thousand dollars and a little bit of time and energy, even though the mayor pulled his support (due to an altercation with the Navy!). Without his support the community received more than $100,000 in four days.
The Admiralty of the Navy sent their cargo plane here, carrying all of our various sponsors banners, water and Gatorade, etc., their best sports doctors, their chip team and a team whose only job was to coordinate a stop watch back-up system should there be a problem with the chips. If you were to put a monetary value on this, maybe 30K. The local commandant gave us people to work with who would rather watch a soccer game.The marathon course here is tough, but incredible. Of all the marathons I have run throughout the world, this was the most extraordinary I have experienced. I heard these same words last year and again this year. If there were a course that ran through a pine needled forest floor, level, with a 62 degree temperature that is what Id like to provide. The tough course is the best that can be done here.
Sounds like a great race, in a fantastic part of the world! Next years race will be held on the 13th of May 2012, details to be released later this year. You can find a range of other amazing events from around the world in our muchbetter Event Calendar.
Follow this link to find out more about Come To Galapagos, and click this link to see our range of holidays and accommodations in the Galapagos Islands.