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5,000 runners predicted in 2018’s Marathon Mérida

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Julius Keter, the 2017 Marathon Mérida’s men’s division winner, approaches the finish line. Photo: Youtube

Mérida, Yucatán — City officials expressed optimism over the upcoming edition of Marathon Mérida.

They predict 5,000 runners will compete on Jan. 7, 2018.

Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal headed a press conference in which he compared the marathon with Paseo de las Animas, Mérida Fest, FILUX and the American Capital of Culture events as a tourist attraction.

The marathon will be carried out by an organizing committee and the company AsDeporte, which has organized national and international sporting events for more than 27 years.

The 2018 Marathon Mérida’s branding, as before, cleverly tweaks out the city’s pre-Hispanic name, T’ho.

The marathon and half-marathon have earned international certification by the International Association of Marathons and Distance Races. That means it is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon and other international contests in 100 countries and territories. This designation is valid until 2021.

The marathon has been growing in popularity. The 2017 edition had 111 percent more participants compared with the previous year, the city reports. The mayor credited the organizing committee for the event’s success.

Each year the marathon has a different theme. This year’s was Fiesta Meridana with allusions to symbols like the jarana. For 2018, the theme will be the city’s history and iconic buildings.

In the 2018 edition, in addition to the 42-kilometer marathon, there will be a half marathon of 21 kilometers, a 10-kilometer race and a three-kilometer walk.

A committee member also promised more registration points around the city — even in convenience stores — to encourage local participation.

To encourage early registration, those who sign up before Aug. 31 will have the opportunity to customize the number and shirt that will be given to them for the marathon.

In addition, discounts will be made to those who register from July to October.

The winner of the marathon wins 85,000 pesos, with a special category set aside for Yucatecan runners who could win a trophy and prize money of 4,000, 2,000 and 1,000 pesos. The total prize pool is 762,000 pesos.

In the 2017 marathon, of the 3,118 people who participated, 2,319 were from Yucatan, 745 from the interior of the country and 54 from abroad. The winners were Julius Keter, a prominent distance runner from Kenya and Sheware Amare, a high-performance female athlete from Ethiopia.

The route of the marathon will be the same as the previous year, with departure and finish at the Monumento a la Patria.

The registration fee for the marathon and half marathon is 350 pesos from July 5 to Aug. 31; 390 pesos from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, and 420 pesos from Nov. 1 to Jan. 6.

For the 10-kilometer race, 250 pesos from July 5 to Aug. 31; 275 pesos from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 and 300 pesos from Nov. 1 to Jan. 6, and for the three-mile trek 120, 135 and 150 pesos.

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