The streets of Quito have become the ideal setting for contemporary “chasquis” (runners), genuinely passionate about running mile after mile. Despite knowing nothing about special running shoes, training, technique, rhythm, routines or hydration, they love the feeling of their rapid beating heart and adrenaline flowing through their veins, urging them forward in order to reach their destination.
Many began running as a hobby or because they were tired of routine, and sought a new lifestyle. The increasing number of runners in Quito is considerable, and the city’s competition schedule has also expanded a great deal over the last few years. These days, it’s quite common for there to be a race every month of the year in Quito’s streets.(and mountains)
The schedule is vast and the competitions are varied and based on the skill of the athletes. Some events combine swimming, cycling and running; the number of miles to be completed by participants is based on their experience and physical condition, as in their type of route to be followed.
However, it is important that all new runners keep in mind that before every competition, they must have completed at least ten weeks of 6 day/week of training. Competitors should not change their gear or shoes for a competition, as this could cause abrasions or blisters when competing. A proper diet is also essential for this type of activity. Runners should consume high-energy meals in order to be able to complete their races, mainly complex carbohydrates and/or fruit.
Among the most popular races along Quito’s streets, we find the Ruta de las Iglesias 10k, Quito Nike 10k, Quito 21k Mitad del Mundo with approximately 5,000 runners of different ages, between 13 and 70 years old, from different regions of Ecuador.
Another option for running fanatics is the Night Race Quito 8k, an exciting cross country night-time race; participants run approximately 8k in Quito’s Guangüiltagua Metropolitan Park.
The Andean Trail is a 2-day running/trekking competition, where participants take narrow paths with regular ascents and descents along the Ecuadorian Andes, they run individually, in couples or groups.
Huairasinchi is an adventure competition that brings together different sports disciplines such as mountain biking, trekking, rowing, rope courses and land navigation, where teams of four compete during two days. Teams from all over the world come to Ecuador to compete in this event, which is a world famous adventure circuit.
The most known and oldest race in Quito is the Últimas Noticias 15k, organized by the El Comercio group, where thousands of running fanatics participate year in and year out, in order to measure their progress. Originally, it was a Marathon along Quito’s neighborhoods, where 215 amateur athletes ran along the city’s main streets.
There are several other races that are held every year, ranging from a 5k distance to full marathons. The main thing about this sport is to not give in to exhaustion and to lace up your shoes properly.
Text: Liz Briceño Pictures: Gabriela Mármol, Rómulo Moya Peralta, Quito Turismo
Make sure you meet all the requirements in order to participate.
The breeze of the trees while you run.
The competitive spirit of the participants.