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quinta-feira, maio 06, 2010

XVI Sao Paulo International Marathon : Sunday, May 2, 2010

Clique aqui para a versão em português do relato.

My marathon began at night to dawn of the previous day. I and 21 others traveled by a tour organized by Casa do Corredor (Runner's House) enterprise. As my flight from Belo Horizonte (BH) to Sao Paulo (SP) was programmed to take off at 6 AM on saturday from Confins airport, I had to leave home 4 AM, so I slept only about five hours and half that night. To compensate, at the hotel in Sao Paulo, I relaxed by the pool after lunch, as shown in the photo above.

After that I went to the hotel where Emmanuel, my French friend and fellow barefoot runner, was staying. With my Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) in the feet, I walked because the distance between the hotels was less than a mile. I invited him to go to the Sao Paulo Art Museum - MASP (above photo) that was just a quarter mile from his hotel. Emmanuel is a full-time barefooter, so he went with no shoes on his feet. Before entering the queue for the ticket, he asked the security guard if it was allowed to go barefoot into the museum. The security guard checked with his chief on the walkie-talkie. And there was no problem so, barefooters, know that MASP is "barefoot friendly"!

The event "Sao Paulo Marathon" includes races of 25K and 10K, in addition to 26.2 miles race itself, and includes also a 3K walk. Emmanuel joined the 10K race (right photo, finished in 35:47 at 20th position) while I was doing the marathon. Counting walkers and runners, the expected audience was 20,000 (twenty thousand) people. It would be very difficult to find ourselves at the start the next day, so we ate a snack after the museum and parted.

All the races start at Journalist Roberto Marinho Avenue and cross the Pinheiros River by the Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge, known as Cable-Stayed Bridge, a postcard of the city (above photo).

I shared a taxi with 3 fellow runners which left us on the opposite side of the Cable-Stayed Bridge. So we had to walk about a mile to the start line, along the way we found the sign marking the 1st kilometer (photo).

Before entering my starting corral I saw, into the distance, another barefoot runner: a native brazilian indian dressed with his typical clothes. I suppose he is the same indian who regularly runs barefoot the marathon in Rio de Janeiro . Unfortunately, due to distance and agglomeration of people, I could not talk with him. Also two or three people talked to me about running barefoot. After entering the corral and ready for the start, two ladies behind me started a conversation. Both were from São Paulo and would run the 10K race. I told them I was from BH. One of them said she always runs barefoot when she goes to the beach. After seeing and talking to me, she would try to run barefoot too at Ibirapuera Park . The other lady said she had read the story about running barefoot in the running magazine O2 and asked if I was the interviewee. I said no but he was my friend Barefoot Roger . She, stimulated with the story from O2, had bought a VFF. At this moment came to our side Reinaldo, from the group of runners of BH on Yahoo! , which was in Sao Paulo by his own and not by joining the tour. I met him again on the course when I overtook him at 22 miles.

The race started (pictured above). In the first quarter mile I had a problem. I stepped on a bolt sticking up attached to brigde's ground concrete. It served to hold a raised pavement marker that was not there anymore. Due to the cluster of people, I have not seen it. My foot bothered for about one or two miles but it faded out after that.

Along the course I heard several comments to be barefoot. I also meet two runners who participated in Curitiba's Marathon (my 1st marathon past November). Both appear in the marathon's video made by .

About the 5th mile there were many martial arts practitioners queued on the sidewalk (pictured above). They were at arm's length to greet the runners with touching hands. As this raises my mood at the race, I did not miss the opportunity to greet some of them.

Toward the 9th mile I meet two guys running together: Alex and Jorge. Alex was an example of overcoming. He had no right leg and wore a prosthesis in place. I told him that he breaks another paradigm. While I thought that to run no shoes are needed but only feet, he showed that neither foot is needed. I ran with them until about the 18th mile.

Lasting less than a mile to the end, the two ladies, I talked at the start, were encouraging marathoners on the street. On seeing me they shouted: "Go BH!". I completed the marathon in 3h 41m 12s, it was nearly 1 PM and the room temperature was 83F. My feet were tender but not because of the heat from the asphalt but for its roughness. Outside the margins of the Pinheiros River, São Paulo asphalt is very rough. Just noticed that the asphalt was hot when I stopped, the constant raising of the feet while running didn't let pass the sensation of burning.

I received my medal and, while leaving the area of exhaust, I was approached by a person. He was Sérgio Rocha, art editor of the running magazine Contra-Relógio. I only knew Sérgio by email and phone. It was he who interviewed me for the article on barefoot running published in the March issue of the magazine. We spent some time talking about minimalist shoes, running barefoot, acupuncture and so on.

Ok, this is my report. Now waiting for the next marathon. I hope it will be Porto Alegre International Marathon next May 23, 2010.
PS: See the race medal (picture below).