In 1999 I was lucky enough to visit Patagonia. It was only an afterthought at the time, a lay-over at the tip of South America on my way to running a marathon in Antarctica, but I was amazed by the beauty of the landscape.
Now, all these years later, there’s even more reason for runners to visit Patagonia – finally, it’s got a marathon of its own.
Fittingly, the marathon, now in its second year, is dedicated to not only showcasing the beauty of the landscape, but helping to preserve it as well. As the race website explains, the race is dedicated to the conservation of Chilean Patagonia and contributing to the sustainable development of the region. But the race is as much about action as words: for every entry, a tree will be donated to Reforestemos Patagonia, a campaign that aims to plant 1 million native trees in Chilean Patagonia.
This year, the race has also announced that it is going Cup-Free. In order to reduce waste and eliminate litter on the course, cups will not be provided at the start and finish, or at the aid stations. Instead, every runner will be required to carry their own bottle or water hydration system. For ultramarathoners, this is nothing new; for the running community at large, it’s something we should all get used to, especially when we run and race in fragile environments.
The Second Patagonia Marathon will be held on September 28th, along with a 63K ultramarathon, a half marathon, and a 10K option. To learn more about these races and the mission of the event, visit www.patagonianinternationalmarathon.com.
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