Published by Bianca Barbosa @Bbarbosa_85
Cartagena has been an amazing experience. Although the swim was supposed to be easy due to it being on a bay, it had a bit of current and also lots of tree branches and leaves. The water temperature was 29.8 celsius so no wetsuits were permitted. The transition from swim to bike was positioned a little far from the exit of the ocean and we had to run quite a bit (almost 500 meters!).
On to the cycle. The Cycle was a bit tricky during the first 20k due to the road's concrete surface being really uneven, but after that initial part it was really well signalled, with 4 hydration points, which where vital due to the brutal weather (it felt like 37 celsius out there in the sun). There was some elevation towards the turnaround point, but nothing too major. There was also a little bit of wind which also increased the difficulty. People were cheering all the way alongside the road and kids asking for the water bottles which was really funny.
Then it was on to the run which was brutal. Probably the hardest run I have ever ran, and I heard from people who have completed full ironman races that this was by far more difficult due to the soaring temperatures and difficult terrain. The heat was off the charts, the sun was blazing and it was really hard due to climatic conditions. Some of the running happened intra walls of the city which helped with being shaded by some of shadows but most of the time we had the sun beating down on us.
The Colombian people were very friendly and very into the race, sidewalks there were really narrow and whole families were in the streets cheering us on the whole time, which was amazing!!! This helped in trying to forget about the heat.... a bit. There were a lot of hydration points during the run, where volunteers drenched us with water to try and help cool us down. I also had some kids throw buckets of water over me, several times. :)
Overall, the race was really good even though it was the first one they had held there. It was a really hard one due to climatic conditions, which saw a lot of people crossing the finish line followed by them getting carried away to the ambulances. However the place is amazing, especially where the run took place. The architechture, the closeness to the people, and their receptiveness made this a really special event and one that I would highly recommend to anyone if they can cope with the soaring temperatures.
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