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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Runners in Mérida take to the streets for December’s traditional Turkey Run

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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.
Runners pass Mérida’s Monumento a La Patria on Paseo de Montejo. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Roughly 500 runners in Mérida took part in the city’s first half-marathon in almost two years.

The 21-kilometer race called “La Carrera del Pavo” — or Turkey Run, began at 6 Sunday morning from El Parque de Las Américas in García Ginerés, but the party-like atmosphere was already raging by 5.  

The 29th edition of the race began on route towards Santa Lucia Park and then took a turn north towards Liverpool and then back again to Parque de Las Americas, via Cupules and then Colón avenues.

Aside from cash prizes, winners in several categories took home a turkey to enjoy during their Christmas feast. Photo: Courtesy

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, foot races had become extremely common in Mérida, with some weekends seeing competing events scheduled at different points. Even during the height of the pandemic, several “races” continued to take place but were held virtually with participants running on their own and reporting back their times using either a special app or the honor system. 

Elite runner takes an early lead, blazing past his competitors during the 29th edition of the Carrera del Pavo in Mérida: Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht 

Though some of the participants did indeed wear masks, social distancing became difficult especially in the moments before the race actually began. However, proof of COVID-19 vaccination was required for participation in the athletic event.

As runners in Mérida are used to training on flat terrain, many consider the underpass known as the Paso Deprimido as one of the most challenging parts of any race. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Hydration was offered at several points during the half-marathon. 

On Saturday, a shorter 10-kilometer versión of the race also took place. Usually, the 10 and 21k races are on the same day, but organizers decided to split them up to avoid unnecessary overcrowding. 

Aside from water and electrolyte beverages, some non-race affiliated volunteers handed out other items including chocolate and bananas — which were much appreciated. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Mérida’s local government announced last week that it will be hosting the city’s 2022 marathon and half-marathon on Sunday, Jan. 9. The announcement, which came less than a month before the event, has been highly criticized by Yucatán’s running community as it affords competitors too little time to adequately train. 

“What they are doing is outright irresponsible and even dangerous. It shows a lack of foresight and respect,” said a well-known local athlete who preferred her name not be used. 

La Carrera del Pavo 2021 was well attended by several local large running clubs including Runners Team Mérida and La Tribu Bacab, as well as some smaller clubs and many unaffiliated runners. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
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