Mérida’s athletes are now returning with smiles on their faces to the city’s softball diamonds, soccer fields, and running racks after a long, pandemic-induced hiatus. This is true not only of pro-athletes like players on the ever-popular Leones de Yucatán baseball team, but also for the tens of thousands of amateurs and weekend warriors.
Like any world-class city, sport is a big part of life in Mérida. About a decade ago, several foot races ranging from 5 kilometers to full marathons started to be held in Mérida and a few other cities on the Peninsula – though some are much older.
If you like to start your morning with a good run and find yourself in Mérida, you will surely enjoy a leisurely jog along Paseo de Montejo or a speedy course at Salvador Alvarado Stadium.
If you plan to stay in Mérida over the winter or a prolonged period of time and prefer not to run alone, you may want to check out one of the city’s many running clubs like Runners Team Mérida or La Tribu Bacab. Virtually all of these clubs have active social media accounts and are very welcoming to newcomers, so don’t feel intimidated.
As running culture continued to gain steam in Mérida over the past decade, so did the number and quality of races. Before the beginning of the pandemic, it was not unusual for Mérida to host 2 or 3 races every weekend – much to the delight of athletes and annoyance of drivers who suddenly find their paths blocked.
The most common start and end points for races in Mérida are Paseo de Montejo’s Remate, as well as the Monumento a la Patría and El Parque de las Américas.
One of the first races to make its comeback since the outbreak of the pandemic was the famous Uxmal – Muna footrace. This extremely tough race comes in at 16 kilometers over some of Yucatán’s hilliest terrain. It has the benefit of starting inside the archaeological site of Uxmal, under the shade of the famous Pirámide del Adivino.
One of the most iconic upcoming races, the annual Carrera del Pavo (Turkey Race) will be held on December 18th. Though it’s too late to register, you can always make your way out to Paseo de Montejo to cheer on the athletes as they gruel through the half-marathon.
Two races that are conspicuously still absent from the upcoming running calendar are Mérida’s City Marathon, which is usually held for the city’s anniversary on January 6, and the implacable Maratón de la Marina (the Navy Marathon) in June, one of Yucatán’s hottest months. It is likely that these events will not take place again until 2023, as they typically attract thousands of competitors and thus make social distancing virtually impossible.
So get on those sneakers and get running. You have to burn off those Panuchos and Salbutes somehow!
Editorial by Carlos Rosado.
Coming from a Mexican/Canadian family, Carlos Rosado is an adventure travel guide, blogger, and photographer with studies in Multimedia, Philosophy, and Translation.
Photography by Nicole Tackert Moreno and Ernesto Ancona for use in Yucatán Today.
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