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Mérida hosts 2022 marathon despite COVID-19 fears

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The winner of yesterday’s marathon, Erick Monyenye of Kenya. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida hosted its official marathon Sunday as part of celebrations to commemorate the 480th anniversary of the city’s foundation. 

The Monumento a la Patria on Paseo de Montejo served as both the start and endpoint for the race which started on time at 5 a.m.

The event kicked off with fireworks and saw competitors run throughout the city, including several Centro neighborhoods. 

Sunday’s race was complete with fireworks. Video: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Up until the moment the starting gun went off, many athletes had expressed concern regarding whether or not the event would actually take place — given the recent dramatic rise in COVID-19 infections.

Though many athletes did huddle together to await the start of the race, many others chose to spread out to lessen the risk of COVID-19 infection. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Most participants wore face masks when huddled together in anticipation for the start, but then removed them as the footrace began. 

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The winner of the marathon was Erick Monyenye, a Kenyan national who completed the 42.2-kilometer circuit in two hours, 32 minutes, and one second. 

The event was without controversy, as it was officially announced less than one month beforehand. 

As is common during marathons, some athletes decided to dress up in costumes. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

“Less than a month is nowhere near enough to prepare, even if you train year-round. Anything less than three is downright dangerous and disrespectful to the athletes,” said a local runner, Lupita Alfaro.

Also causing murmurs among the runners were complaints about insufficient hydration and poor signage — which apparently caused a Kenyan athlete to veer off course and cost her a likely win. 

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