Come To Galapagos Marathon

The Twelfth Annual Come to Galapagos Marathon is Being Held Twice! Again!

August 4 and October 13, 2024

In response to popular demand and in an effort to keep the running field to the limited number we can manage in the personalized style we do, the 2024 Come to Galapagos Marathon will be held August 4 (cool weather here,  a “light month” for marathons offered elsewhere in the world) and October 13 (cool weather here, the slow season for tourism and so a good date for the local economy).

We will hold the event in the same manner we have for the previous years as a private event for international runners, each of whom sponsors a local runner by paying for their entrance fee. The event is open to international runners who also participate in the Come To Galapagos Marathon Tour Package. Race registration and disclaimer form click here.

 

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All of the visiting runners spend the night in a hotel 50 feet from the starting line. This allows them to get an extra hour of sleep (don’t have to be transported up to the start line), use the indoor “facilities” directly before the race, and spend time with the other runners in a communal setting (spaghetti dinner the night before, tour of the course the day before).

Each marathon runner is assigned their own personal driver/caddy. This person waits two kilometers down the course, hydrates them, drives two kilometers ahead again, stops wherever there is a course change to be sure the runners are on the course, and continues this process until the runners cross the finish line.

This allows runners to have whatever beverage they want, cast off jackets, wet sponges, etc. This also allows us to know where every runner is on the course and check how they are doing.

In the days that follow the race we show the runners the greatest hits of the Galapagos. Always rave reviews!

The people overseeing the event will be the Come to Galapagos family: farmers, fishermen, restaurant staff, hotel owners, Galapagos National Park guides, etc., all the people that regularly work with us caring for our guests here on San Cristobal.

The dates were chosen for three reasons:

  1. August and October are two of the cooler months here. The average high temperature 70 degrees and generally slightly overcast, which makes for far better running conditions than 85 degrees with 95 percent humidity and a blistering equatorial sun.
  2. The date is announced far enough in advance to give participants time to plan.
  3. October is one of the less traveled months here hence the runners will have less impact on visitor sites. Plus the Come to Galapagos family will get a financial shot in the arm when they can use it the most.

We try to plan and organize every detail, but each year something wonderful happens that we didn’t plan.

The first year there was a farmer cheering and throwing flower petals as the marathon runners passed. Then there was the group of kids playing soccer at the stadium near the finish line who got the bright idea to escort the marathon runners as they entered the stadium and made their way around the last 300 meters of the track to the finish line. The kids liked it because they got to cross the finish line and receive the applause again and again. The runners said it was the most helpful thing that had ever happened to them finishing a marathon. So we’ve made that a tradition.

One year there was a man at kilometer 32 giving the runners that wanted it a bucket full of water on the head. He just happened to be there at K 32 “the wall.” Several runners told me that bucket of water and that man standing there with his willingness to help them made the difference.

Ideally, what you want for a marathon course is a 42 kilometer oval on a flat plane, within a high-branched pine forest so that it is shady and the pine needles make for a nice cushy running surface. You want the oval so that the race can begin and end at the same point; anything less than that is a compromise.

We have no pine forests and no flats to speak of. The longest paved road on the island is 26 kilometers one way, but I came up with the easiest course I could find, one that among other things crosses five climatic zones, features extraordinary vistas, and passes spots where you may encounter wild giant tortoises and lounging sea lions.

It is a “tough” course. Most runners who start running to see how fast they can do it soon give the idea up and settle into just enjoying the run. 

The marathon course starts at 574 meters above sea level on the highest part of the paved road which crosses the island. It ends at a small beach in town about a hundred yards from your hotel. The course is run on asphalt, cement, inlaid blocks, or dirt road. There are two stretches that run along the coast. The runners will pass through five vegetation zones (miconia, scalesia, transitional, arid and costal). Figuring in all of the undulations the course has an approximate net downhill of 808 meters (2,650.9 ft) and an approximate net uphill of 234 meters (767.7 ft). The last 10 kilometers have a net rise of 75 meters (246 ft) and fall of 60 meters (196.5 ft). The last three kilometers are relatively flat.

The half marathon also starts at 574 meters above sea level on the highest part of the paved road which crosses the island. It ends at at the same small beach in town about a hundred yards from your hotel, has an approximate net downhill of 584 meters (1,916 ft) and an approximate net uphill of 42 meters (137.8 ft).