Contributing editor Sean McCoy will travel to Chile next month to cover and race in the inaugural Patagonian International Marathon. Monitor the site for live coverage from Punta Arenas, Chile in mid-September, as Sean reports from the race.
Chilean Patagonia is one of the most rugged and beautiful regions on Earth. The wilderness of jagged spires, mountains and extreme weather will provide a dramatic backdrop for the first-ever Patagonian International Marathon this year on Sept. 23.
Readers of GearJunkie might be familiar with Patagonia through our coverage of the annual Patagonian Expedition Race, a week-long wilderness event in which Team GearJunkie has raced the past three years. (Here’s our micro-site on the race from 2011.)
Nómadas International Group S.A., the same company that runs the expedition race, will host runners in the Patagonian International Marathon. The course runs through Torres del Paine national park, where the toothy Cordillera del Paine formations tower above forests and glacial lakes.
Funds raised from the marathon will support Reforestamos Patagonia, an initiative to plant 1 million trees in areas affected by wildfire. (In 2011, a fire burned 17,000 acres of Torres del Paine National, an event that initiated the campaign.)
For the race, participants will compete on a 42k, 21k or 10k course. (I am running the 42k, which is a traditional marathon length.) All routes will traverse the park on hilly gravel roads and in the shadow of the Cordillera del Paine.
The race is limited to 500 participants and entry fee is only $156. Getting to Patagonia, at the tip of South America, on the other hand, is a bit more of a hurdle!
But for a chance to run a marathon at the “end of the Earth,” the long journey will undoubtedly be worth it!
—Sean McCoy is based in Denver. He heads to South America on assignment for GearJunkie in two weeks.