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End of the World Half Marathon in Belize – Great adventure!

December 12, 2014

Lifetime 37, 2014 12, States 6, Countries 4

Warning! This is a long race report  – I had so much fun I just want to tell all about it!

You never know what you are going to experience when you do a half marathon that no one has ever heard of – especially when it is called End of the World Marathon in the country of Belize. It was an experience I highly recommend!

Quick summary

Excellent community support, from busses that pick you up at your hotel to take you to the start line to the each-mile water stops that had so much food and water you couldn’t reach the finish line hungry or dehydrated, to the great finish line festivities and the awesome medal. Small race, 160 participants this year and people really look after you. Highest elevation on the course is 12 inches – due to the many speed bumps! The absolute best part was swimming in the Caribbean Sea after the race, immediately mitigating my aches and pains!

The report

I signed up months ago on a lark because I was going to be visiting Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize and Placencia looked like a great place to finish my vacation  – and there was a race! Yes, I have become one of those who looks for a race first, then adds the vacation!

Pulled in on Friday. Stayed at a great place called Barnacle Bill’s in a beachside bungalow. Exactly what you think a bungalow by the Caribbean Sea looks like! Packet pickup was Saturday afternoon at a local restaurant which also had the evening’s pasta dinner.

Picking up race packet for End of the World Half Marathon.

Picking up race packet for End of the World Half Marathon.

Met a few people, but when Race Director Chip Lovett said the bus would pick me up at 4:15 the next morning, I decided to forgo the dinner and get ready for the race. No timing chip needed, just pin on your number!

Leaving for the bus

I had been trying to decide if I should wear my hydration vest, but when the the RD handed me a map of where each water station was at each mile  I decided to go without – the very first time in my 36 half marathons I have had a naked back. I also had no visor – not by design but by forgot-to-pack. There had been sporadic rain showers and no telling what the weather would be, but I thought my Half Fanatics buff could be used to temper both heat, humidity, and rain.

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Start line at Caribbean Way

Race  Day

The bus came – actually there were three of them full of half marathoners. (The full marathoners started at the finish line, and turned where the halfers started.)

The start line had toilets, lights, and boxes of water in 12 ounce pouches.

These were better than cups, wish we had them here!

These were better than cups, wish we had them here!

Water in pouches? What a great idea!  I grabbed one and stuffed it in my bra – just in case. That is when I knew my decision to go vest-less was a good one. Soaked in the atmosphere – and was grateful that I could have this experience.

At 5:30 am someone shouted “GO!” and we did. It was still dark and I seeded myself to the side, not that it made much difference because I was alone on the course by mile 2!

Race course and Caribbean Sea at 5:40 am

Race course and Caribbean Sea at 5:40 am

But I was in Belize with the Caribbean Sea close and warm weather and how much fun was this?

The race course and Caribbean Sea about 6:15 am.

The first water stop gave me a taste of what was to come. The volunteers plied me with orange slices and bananas and pouches of water. It had only been a mile and I didn’t need anything but I chatted for a few moments with them. It was the same at every stop. Everyone wanted to feed you and hydrate you and wish you well. Totally delightful!

Leaving the Superheros!

Leaving the Superheros water stop!

A guy from Spain set up his stop in the middle of the road and offered me liquid Herbalife, “You need the minerals!” He also sprinkled my head with a fine mist hose!

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This water stop included Herbalife! (Photographs taken by Marion & Ed Carr. Copyright Muzamanzie Photographs.)

There was the water stop of Christmas elves …

Water station of Christmas Elves

and the one with Superheros …Water Station manned by the Superheroes

and the group at who yelled my name and told me I was their favorite runner.

Mile 11 group

The sun was up but it was overcast but I was drenching my HF buff at each stop so I felt fine.

Each mile had a sign sponsored by a local entity.

Each mile had a sign sponsored by a local entity.

Moving along!At mile 8 the clouds left and the sun was hot and the humidity was 89%. Again my buff saved the day.

My Half Fanatics buff kept me wet and cooled me. (Photograph courtesy of Bill Taylor)

About mile 9 a golf cart drew up next to me and a lovely woman asked me how I was doing. She was a nurse and someone had asked her to check on me.  She said I looked dehydrated and gave me a piece of banana to eat. I was really fine but it was nice to know I was being looked after.

Two miles to go!

Two miles to go!

Mile 11 was at the airport – a tiny strip that is quite busy. A plane was coming in as I was there and I wanted the picture, but my hands were so wet I couldn’t unswipe my phone – so I just have to remember the sight of a prop plane landing right at me with the water just a 100 yards behind me.

And as I drew closer to town people cheered and clapped – it was excellent!

Somewhere on the course! Everyone took pictures of the racers!

Somewhere on the course! Everyone took pictures of the racers!

In downtown Placencia. One mile to go!

In downtown Placencia. One mile to go! (Photograph courtesy of Deb Vernon)

The finish line

Finish Line

Finish Line

The RD announced my name as I crossed the finish line. The medical guy  asked if I was okay ( my face was beet red) and the medal was put around my neck.

Crossing the finish line! (Photographs taken by Marion & Ed Carr. Copyright Muzamanzie Photographs.)

Crossing the finish line! (Photographs taken by Marion & Ed Carr. Copyright Muzamanzie Photographs)

The food waiting included homemade banana bread and chocolate cupcakes!

After the race sporting my new medal!

After the race sporting my new medal!

After all the heat and humidity and stopping at every water station I ended up with a trophy! Second in my age group!

Love my age group!

Love my age group!

I toted that home along with my medal.

Medal from Placencia Belize Half Marathon Dec 2014

Medal from Placencia Belize Half Marathon Dec 2014

People took pictures. Lots of pictures. There are several hundred on the End of the World Marathon Facebook page. As I said, the whole community supported and enjoyed this event. There is only one road into Placencia, and it was closed to vehicles for six hours so we participants had it to ourselves.

This was the third year of this race and the local Rotary Club uses the funds to support higher education (meaning high school) for Belizean students. In Belize, schooling stops after 8th grade. If you want to go further, parents must pay and that can be difficult in a country that has a high level of poverty. I admit I didn’t know this until after I signed up, and I am pleased that funds from this event go to a such a worthwhile cause.

Final Word

Lovely destination race. If you are looking for a  small, intimate, and super- friendly race you will love it. I would do this race again if I had more time and needed less countries!

3 Comments
  1. marie koch permalink

    I am so proud of you!!!!

    marie

  2. Thank you so much, Cousin! Your support is lovely to me 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Thank you, Half Fanatics, for my 13.1 Adventures | Cathy's Adventures

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