Chilean Patagonia is one of the most rugged and beautiful places on Earth. The wilderness of jagged spires, mountains and extreme weather will provide a dramatic backdrop for the first-ever Patagonian International Marathon, to be held this weekend on Sept. 23.
Contributing editor Sean McCoy is in Chile this month to cover and race in the inaugural event. Here is his first report from the field, a warmup day with jogging on the beach and some local fun.
09/21/12 — I arrived in Punta Arenas with bleary eyes open to a whipping wind. This was after more than 24 hours aboard airplanes and in airports. The Patagonian International Marathon, a jaunt across 26 very rugged miles at the end of South America, is just two days away. And what a backdrop for a marathon!
I took a quick jog this morning past an old shipwreck on the coast of the Strait of Magellan. The wind howled in bursts as I ran down here at the end of the Andes, the tailbone of a spine that courses thousands of miles across the continent.
Even as the sun peeked through breaking clouds I shivered in my running shorts. The ocean water was whipped white under the force of the stiff breeze. Soon, I’d had enough of the sandy running and tried out the local “exercise” equipment — swinging on a rope that dangled off the bow of the shipwrecked vessel.
Punta Arenas and the surrounding area so far is gorgeous, and I’m excited to be a part of this inaugural event. I just hope the weather holds as we head north toward Torres del Paine and the start line for the course.