I come and join this expedition with less expectations for I do not even thought that this scheduled trip will ever push through. Last minute decision, finally packed my things and boarded the plane. Everything did not sink into my mind that I am going for an adventure of a lifetime, that I am going to a sacred place of a long lost civilization, a place that most people dream of going, my dream destination as well. All I think and know is that I am going to run a full marathon on a trail/road that is carved and artistically laid by the hands of the Inca people hundred of years ago. Just enjoy what ever this trip will bring me was all I think of. As usual, I thought, just smile, explore and make the best out of what the place can offer.
Race Proper, June 5, 2013
While waiting for the gun start I had to take off my last outer layer of upper clothing, my rain jacket leaving only my TNF technical long sleeves and another technical short sleeve shirt as my base layer. All set and ready to go.
Standing at the uphill of the Ancient Inca Trail that is only lighted by the rays of our head torches, with my fellow 13 full marathon runners, few local crews and the Race Director Devy, I had no ambitious goal on my finish time on this race. All I thought was just douse myself with positive vibes while running through the beauty of this magnificent place and just enjoy my run. I did not even have my usual chart of calculated time on certain distance, one thing that I always prepare on almost all my runs in the past. It is still dark, at exactly 4:00am all us started our most awaited adventure. Off we go. As usual I am taking my slow pace after gun start while most of the other runners just run to their faster strides and slowly one by one were gone out of my sight in front of me. My slow pace was just proper to adjust to the gradual ascend of the trail while getting used to the cold early morning breeze while my lungs was getting used to the gradual thinning air.
Oh by the way, this is a race that is kept at a very very low key. Runners do not wear bib numbers, no trail signs along the trail and no start and finish archs and banners at the start and finish line. No flaglets, no usual running signages at the side of any part of the route.
I was never happy with my pace at all. The only reward for me was the beautiful view of the mountain ranges with clouds down below. Until a surprise water station at the middle of the uphill slope. Wow. Happiness. At least this will give me a chance to rest. I am now a little over 21km with 3,306MASL elevation at Ayapata. I catch up with Reagan Rice, a retired Navy from Florida, USA who used to be stationed at Subic Bay, Philippines in the late 70's. He mentioned several Filipino food he was fond of eating on his stay in the country including balut. And I catch with Tim here too.
Giving my hydration pack to the sweeper, with a goal of reaching the gate by 3:00pm, I dash down the trail, run as fast as I can with the sweeper following me. I thank him so much of his presence, there were some junctions that I had to ask him which path to take. Remember, there was never a single trail sign placed on this race along the trail.
Leaving most of the climb, it's now mostly flat or downhill but on a rocky steps that leads to Sayacmarca, 3,580MASL. Passing three tunnels in between stone paved trails, this is such a magnificent construction of Inca trail with stone stair cases. It now leads to Phuyupatamarca, 3,653MASL, the 3rd and the last pass on this trail. I pass by Tim and few more kilometers I pass by Reagan. Few more meters down below is another aid station which I did not stop at all to grab anything, moving on was already the view of the Urubamba River.
I am glad I decided to join this trip, I did The Most Difficult Marathon in the World. It was all worth it. I have no right to do the analysis if it really was the most difficult full marathon after all, for unlike the other runners of this race who did several extreme races compared to myself. (I only did 27 full and ultra marathons of my over 2 years of running, 8 of those 27 are full marathons.) More than the distance and the elevation gain, it is the running experience on this ancient place that makes this adventure a worth while adventure. Inca Trail Marathon is a big check. You are so lovely and sweet to me. Thank you.
This is a well organized race by Andes Adventure, it is always a pleasure to meet and to be with a lot of different runners and people on some parts of the world. You all make part of my story book. Thank you. I hope I will bump into some of you someday somewhere on my adventures.
Race Itinerary - Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu 2013
2013 Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu Race Result
Inca Trail Marathon Photo Gallery taken by Othe Participants