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.
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.
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.
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.
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.