In May, I had the opportunity to run the Bertioga-Maresias Ultramarathon. This is one of those experiences that I always wanted to have, but that for some reason always ended up postponing it. Maybe because of insecurity or perhaps because I did not know exactly how it worked or if it would be worth it. I’m glad the opportunity finally came, because every minute was worth it and I had a fantastic experience!
The race can be done in two different ways: solo or relay – in teams of 3, 6 or 8 people. The route is 75 kilometers long on the coast of São Paulo and it includes parts of road, dry land and/or sand. The relay sections are pre-established and the distances vary between them.
We set up a team with friends. Between us, we had from beginners up to those training for marathons (not me!). In our team we made a quick math on how long we would take to finish the race and when I saw that I would spend 07 hours or more of my day involved with this, I imagined that at some point it would get boring. However, while in action, what happens is the opposite.
Each team can have one or two support cars to drive the athletes, carry beverages, snacks and give the necessary support. In our car, the day was very dynamic because we needed to head to the next meeting point in time, organize the food, make sure the beverages were fresh and prepare ourselves to run too. So time goes by very quickly.
During the race … well, it’s the most expected time and since we are in a team, we make a bigger effort to have a good performance. Having friends in the start and finish line also makes things so much more fun!
Overall, the race surface is flat most of the time, except for the last 10-kilometer long course. There are lots of climb up! An important detail: as it is the last part of the course, we arrived there at around 1 p.m. So besides the challenge of altimetry, the sun did not cooperate too much. It was certainly the hardest part!
I wondered if it would not be interesting for the organization to change, to leave that part in the beginning, since the race begins before the sun comes up. With that, at least the heat factor would not get in the way. A friend told me that they did change it during one year, but it did not please the runners that much. The whole point is to face this challenge at the end. Anyway, I cannot confirm this info, but it makes sense to me somehow.
It was extremely exciting to end the race. We crossed the finish line all together as team and celebrated! To be part of this event and to join a team in the relay, reinforced me the lessons of being part of a group. We have to respect the limits of each other, cheer for others results and celebrate everything as a group. Running, in my opinion, is a solitary activity and the relay has brought me back the team spirit.
Watching people finish this race is also an exciting experience. Every time one of those solo runners (75-k course by themselves) crossed the finish line, my eyes got wet. It is a lesson of willpower, as each of us have our own motivations, limitations and difficulties.
By the way, I could not hold back the tears when I saw a team composed entirely of disabled people doing the relay. All of them with crutches and handicap (they didn’t have one of the legs). And you know what? They were certainly complaining less of weariness and limitations than many others there, me included. In every race I participate, there is always someone who gives me a life lesson. These disable boys have certainly left a mark on me that I will never forget.
It was worth every minute and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this event. Special thanks to my team, ‘My Friends’! My next challenge is already launched. On August 20th I will be in Rio de Janeiro for my first half marathon. I am confident, anxious and excited for what is yet to come.
And you, are you also a runner? Tell us a little about your experiences. You’re not one yet? You should try some day. Believe me, you will be amazed at what you are capable of doing!
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