Yesterday was a great Sunday to run and celebrate, and so did Marabana. Cuba’s main marathon just turned 30, and runners from 113 countries gathered in Havana to party the way they love more: run for the joy of running.
It was a sunny day. Weather was cool, humidity acceptable, and stamina high. About 4.763 racers took off early in the morning to run the 10 kilometers, the half-marathon and the full Monty. The big one was won by Cuban runners Misleidys Vargas and Henry Jaen, while Pan-American champion Richer Perez was the best in the 21 km.
Vargas won the female category in 3:06.09 hours, followed by the Dutch runner Inez-Anne Haagen (3:11.22), and the Cuban Lizandra Gomez (3:18.22). Jaen, meanwhile, won Marabana for the fourth time, tying Jorge Luis Suarez’s record.
Jaen traveled from the Far East of Cuba to Havana to win the race with a time of 2: 34.29 hours, escorted by Yumier Fouman (2: 36.30) and Alien Reyes (2: 39.24). He already won this marathon in 2006, 2007 and 2013.
There was a huge presence of foreign enthusiasts. Only from United States came more than 800 runners, but also came people from Germany, France, Spain, Mexico and United Kingdom, all of them aiming to complete the circuit and enjoy the experience.
You don’t have to be a professional runner to be part of this celebration. As a matter of facts, many people came just to run, try themselves or just do a healthy kind of tourism. The popular race celebrated its 30th anniversary last Sunday with a record-breaking participation, confirmed the head of the race, Carlos Gattorno.
The only competitions in Cuba to have drawn more participants, he said, were the 1991 Pan American Games and the 1982 Central American Games. Gattorno credited the increase in runners on "Cuba's tourism attractions, "among other things, but an incentive offered by the French national airline Air France may also have something to do with it.
As a matter of facts, this year's winners will be invited by the carrier to take part in the Paris Marathon. That would be a powerful reason to get up at dawn to jog around and take a shot in next year’s Marabana. But dude… Paris vaut bien une messe…