The registrations for the São Silvestre Road Race has recently opened and with it the opportunity to make dreams come true. At least that’s what happened to me in 2016, when I took part of this race for the first time. Even though there are many complains and polemic involving this competition, I strongly recommend that everyone who has the desire of participating, to join the event at least once in life.
It is a very traditional street race for us in São Paulo. I was born and raised in São Paulo and I remember that in my entire life, at the end of December everyone in the city would talking about it. On December 31st, the day of the event, it was unbearable to be curious about the race: who has won it? How was it? And so on.
As mentioned, it’s very traditional and to be part of it is a huge excitement, at least it was to me. By the way, it is very hard to hold the emotions when running a São Silvestre. Gums puns are guaranteed!
The fame of this race is bigger than the distance itself. The entire course is 15km and even though it may not be a piece of cake, it’s not rocket science either. Also, bear in mind that it is practically impossible to run the first kilometers, as there are way too many people on the streets – especially if you are located at the back of the start line, as I was.
Talking about speed, it is important to say that this is not the best race if you want to break personal records or finish in good timing. The event is PACKED and performing your best pace will be a hard task. Also, out of nowhere you will run into Batman (!), Santa Claus (!!), or people will simply stop in the middle of the crowd for a selfie. TV cameras will appear out of nowhere (and with it everyone will just stop to wave and smile hoping to appear on television) … and through this whole lot of attractions you will simply understand that this event is not about performing your best speed. The secret is to join the festive spirit and have fun!
As said, the São Silvestre may cause a lot of polemic among the runners here in Brazil. There are many criticism about it and many people will try to discourage those willing to register for the race. Be prepared to break the news you are registered for it and receive in return a deluge of complains. Don’t panic, it is just part of it.
There are reasons for it though. For this year of 2017 the runners will have to spend 170 BRL (approximately €45,50) to enroll. Quite expensive, especially considering that they give a very simple kit and the structure of the event is quite flaw. In the edition I ran, for example, there wasn’t enough water for the participants and it became a nightmare. Imagine that: it was summer, December 31st, 10am, no clouds in the sky, more than 30ºC and… all the drinking water was gone! It was frustrating and when people realized that, that would be the situation ‘till the end of the race, chaos took place.
The organizers say the water problem was something punctual (they blame it on the ‘race bandits’, which are those who don’t pay for the race entry, yet find a way to sneak in at an event). Moreover, they say that this year will not happen again. Anyway, I just thought I’d better warn everyone just in case.
Despite these problems, I still believe it was absolutely worth the experience of running a São Silvestre and I have sweet and tender memories of that day. It is packed? Yes. Messy? Absolutely, but the entire city is celebrating and you will be part of one of the most traditional events in our calendar. Yet, you will have an extremely different and festive morning to celebrate the last day of the year. Worth it? For sure, it is a blast!
You want to know more about the registrations? So, for those interested, I’d recommend you to do it as soon as possible on their official website, as they finish quite fast.
Let us know if you enroll and come back to share with us everything about it after your experience!!
Wishing you all a great race in advance!
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