Steve is a Peace Corps Volunteer living for the next two years in Pacasmyo, Peru. There, he works with artisans, assists in tourism, works in an orphanage, teaches a weekly exercise class to senior citizens, and in March will start coaching athletes in Special Olympics.
Hello, on July 6th, you’ll be organizing the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo. Can you tell us where it is located?
Pacasmayo is located on the northern coast of Perú, S.A. in the department of La Libertad, about 100 Km north of Perú’s third largest city, Trujillo.
How old is the marathon and why was it created in the first place?
This is the inaugural year of the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo. Although Pacasmayo is well known throughout the international surfing community for its world class waves, it is less known for its world class off-road running and biking. Our goal during the next two years is to begin the process of turning Pacasmayo into the sports capital of Perú. Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo was created as the first step in achieving that goal. Therefore, we have created a safe venue in the northern part of Peru where runners can achieve a personal running goal. In addition, we wanted to bring recognition to a society of local artisans known collectively as Pakastone. These talented artisans make animal figurines and other products out of marble. In fact, the Pakastone artisans have generously volunteered to make and donate one-of-a kind hand-marble trophies to be presented to the first place men and women finishers in each of the races. The Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo is also unique in that any profits that we earn will go to purchase products for the special education school in Pacasmayo. No one associated with the marathon is accepting any money for their involvement.
As any race director will tell you, starting a marathon requires an incredible amount of time and energy. Fortunately, we have a tremendous staff. Hugo Cortez is from Pacasmayo and has been involved in all phases of organizing and acquiring sponsors; Ashley Toombs, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, is marketing the marathon to the world; Melissa Atchley, a friend and consultant from the United States, has generously donated countless hours in designing our website, and our other committee members have made significant contributions in order to make the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo a reality in record time.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
First, I will refer the reader to our website as all four off-road courses are described in detail under race information. But, in general, we like to use three words to describe the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo; exciting, exotic and exceptional. We feel those three words sum up the uniqueness of this maratón. The participants will be running on desert roads and paths that are composed of hard packed sand and dirt which makes for a fast off-road running surface. The course is flat and never more than 100 feet above sea level with the exception of a couple of hills: Heartbreak and “No Mas”. And, the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean is almost always in view. Throw in the usual blue sky and you have the ingredients for an exceptional marathon setting.
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
Since this is our first marathon in Pacasmayo, it would only be a guess if I gave you an answer. However, I can tell you what our goals are in terms of numbers. We have set our goal to be a total of 101-200 runners for all four events in the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo. There will be four major cities in central and northern Peru that we will draw from; Lima, Trujillo, Chiclayo, and Cajamarca City. In addition, there are approximately 145 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Peru. About 25% of the volunteers have expressed interest in running in the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo. In fact, several of the volunteers have started running groups in their towns and are using the trip to Pacamayo as an incentive for their young athletes to stay committed to their running goal. Moreover, we have already received inquiries from participants outside of Peru who want to run a marathon in South America. So, we are optimistic about achieving our goal of 101 – 200 participants. That being said, long distance running has never been very popular in Peru. In Lima, a city of about 9 million people, I am told that their annual marathon only attracts about 500 runners. So, whether or not we achieve our goal of 101-200 participants will be decided in the next four weeks. It depends on how effective we are in marketing the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo in the last two weeks of February and the first two weeks of March. I have great confidence in our staff and I believe we are up to challenge. I want to thank www.42K195.com for doing their part in helping us publicize the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo to their audience worldwide.
What formalities do international runners need to fulfill to run your race?
International runners need to contact me directly at [email protected] As an incentive in participating in the Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo, we are waiving the entry fee for all runners living outside of Peru.
Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
Yes, there will be a total of four events all taking place on July 6th, 2008. At 8:30 a.m. we will start the 42Km. That will be followed by the 21Km at 8:35. At 8:45 the 10Km will begin and at 8:50 a.m. the 5Km run / walk will start.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
July is considered a winter month for the coast of Peru. We should have ideal running conditions. The temperatures normally average between 55 degrees F. and 65 degrees F. in the morning. And, you can leave your rain gear at home. We receive less than 1 inch of precipitation each year.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
Yes, on Saturday there will be an artisan’s fair during the day. The Pakastone artisans will be displaying their products along with several of our sponsors. At 5 p.m., the runners, volunteers and artisans will be part of a parade that enables the local residents to show their appreciation and welcome the participants to Pacasmayo. In the evening, following the pre-race information meeting, we will have a drawing for prizes that have been donated by running companies and stores in Pacasmayo. After the drawing, several restaurants will be offering the customary pre-race pasta dinner as part of their menu selection. On Sunday, following the awards ceremony, there will be a post-race party for all participants and volunteers.
The marathon finished what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Pacasmayo before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
The Estación Hotel is located on the ocean, and has an excellent menu at very reasonable prices. For fish, it is hard to beat Tabaris restaurant. And, the El Gallo Pinto caters to tourists and oftentimes has live music on the weekends. Our marathon committee will provide a list of restaurants to the participants when they pick-up there race packets on Saturday. As far as sightseeing goes, I think the view that the runners have when they approach the little town of Milagro is the best view of the weekend. That being said, the participants will want to walk up the hill near the cemetery and catch a view of the sunset while overlooking Pacasmayo. It can be breathtaking!
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Marathon Internacional de Pacasmayo?
If running a marathon in South America is on your life’s list of “things to do”, then I invite you to the sports capital of Perú in order to participate in one of the most exciting, exotic and exceptional off-road marathons you will ever experience; Maratón Internacional de Pacasmayo.
Thank you Steve and good luck for the first edition.
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