My first experience in an official race in Buenos Aires, where I was born and raised, showed me a different side of the runner’s community.
I was considering to take part in a race during my holidays and the New Balance 15K was a good chance. However, there was a small problem related to a certificate issued by a doctor, which proves you are in good health condition to take part in it. Usually that’s just bureaucracy, but not if you have no health insurance in that country. After asking some people I realized that it could be more complicated than I thought.
Some days later I asked about the registration to the leader of a Running Team that used to train in the same park I did. They were very, very friendly and arranged everything for me. “Solidarity between runners” said one of the members and I discovered a hidden runner underworld I was not aware of. Mainly because I’m always running alone in the woods. :-)
Unfortunately, the maximum number of participants was reached one day later and the registration was closed. I went to the next training session to thank again for the help and to let them know that I could not take part in the race.
– No way! Come with us. We will meet at this corner at 6 AM and we still have free places in our cars. Two other members also haven’t registered and they will sneak into the race start zone. We have a safe place to leave your clothes as well as food and drinks after the race.
And so was it. The race was so early in the morning that even at the start the sun was still down. The course was through the Northern neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including the University where I studied and worked. As I was preparing a longer race, this had to be run slowly. I did it on the first half, but in the last kms everyone started to speed up and so did I. My performance was quite good and I finished very fresh, like I could still run for another hour.
The after-race with the team was absolutely relaxed and everyone was quite happy about the race regardless of the performance. A new experience for me, which let me make some friends and promise them I will come back to run with them as soon as I could visit Buenos Aires again (or if they visit Berlin).