The MARATHON FLAME goes to Quito Utimas Noticias 15K; “Marathon Spirit” & festivities, Ecuadorian style

June 22nd. I’m getting ready to head to Vancouver tomorrow morning, back on the Canada Running Series trail to Scotia Vancouver Half & 5K. But before I light out for the West, I wanted to share some more of the warmth of the Ecuadorian hospitality I enjoyed over June 2nd-6th weekend at the Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. It was just a tremendous experience. I came away greatly impressed with two, inter-related things:

1. First, just like the several races I’ve been to in Mexico, the “Ultimas Noticias quinsay-ka” was so much more than a race. Given the Latin American love of a fiesta, the weekend and the run was one huge, passionate, community festival, complete with live concerts, rock stars, miss Universo 2003, the Marathon Flame from Greece, just as we had for STWM 2010, but welcomed with fireworks, bands, dancing, lights, the BIG, dramatic, exciting show! Latin heat! And whether it was Amelia Vega [miss Universo], Fausto Mino, the Marathon flame or the race itself that was smouldering, it was an “experience”.      

One of the "star" attractions: Amelia Vega, miss Universo 2003 from Dominican Republic, performs "live" at finish line concert

2. Second, I was struck by just how strong the partnership was between the race — that is organized as well as sponsored by the big newspaper group in Quito, El Commercio, with Ultimas Noticias being their “ultimate”, late afternoon edition –and the City of Quito. The cooperation resulted in both a well organized race for 15,000 participants, including an exciting, competitive elite contest; AND a huge community festival, with crowds that rivalled anything I’ve seen in New York, London or Chicago.

... and a few folks showed up! Part of the Granstand at the Finish line, Quito UN 15K, 2011

If you haven’t had chance, take a quick look at my previous blog post with Race Report and PHOTO Gallery. Here, again, is my favourite photo of passionate fans [including dog riding piggyback on bicycle] urging on Ecuador’s Segundo Jami — still leading but starting to fade around the 12k mark.  

Segundo Jami, ~12k mark in Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K, 2011: urged on by super-fan DOG, piggy-backing on bicycle rider!

Before I head to the Pacific NorthWest tomorrow, I also wanted to share some of the VIDEO I took, that hopefully captures a little of the wonderful atmosphere that is the “Spirit of the Marathon” and Road Racing, ECUADORIAN style.

VIDEO #1. Marathon Flame Lighting Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. Part 1. Zorba the Greek Ecuadorian-style in historic Plaza de San Francisco.

VIDEO #2. Marathon Flame Lighting Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. Part 2. The Flame Lighting.  

VIDEO #3. Marathon Flame Lighting Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. Part 3. The Fireworks.

VIDEO # 4. Marathon Flame Lighting Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. Part 3. The Brass Band.

VIDEO #5. Marathon Flame Lighting Quito Ultimas Noticias 15K. Part 3. The Traditional Dancing performance.

The Race Press Conference.. Ecuadorian style!! [Friday morning, June 3rd].

AIMS President, Paco Borao from Valencia was up first — a tough act to follow mi amigo, but we think Fausto and Amelia gave it their best shot! Here they are, Paco Borao, Fausto Mino & Amelia Vega [Miss Universe 2003] heating things up at the Press Conference on Friday morning, June 3rd. After this, everyone was PUMPED to run!

A) AIMS Presidente, Paco Borao, addresses the Press Conference first.

b) with Fausto Mino

B) with miss Universo 2003, Amelia Vega

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