Lace up! Flamingo Beach Marathon returns

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If you love nothing better than hitting the road at 4 a.m. to run 26 miles, boy, have we got a plan for you.

The Flamingo Beach Marathon is coming back Saturday, Sept. 17, so you might want to start dusting off your Nikes now.

The scenic Flamingo Beach Marathon, interrupted for the past two years by the pandemic, begins and ends in downtown Flamingo. Then you run to roughly where the Huacas-Matapalo crossroads is, you turn around and run back, then you turn around and run the whole thing again! 

This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Honey, I’ve got to run to Huacas.”

But wait, there’s less. If you don’t want to run 42 kilometers, you can run 6, 10, 21 or 30. This event is five races in one, with designated points where you can turn around and run back to where you started from.

To do 6K, you just jog halfway from Flamingo to Brasilito and back. To run a 10K, you go all the way to Brasilito and back. Prefer a half-marathon at 21K? You run to the Huacas-Matapalo junction and back. For a 30K, you basically run the 21K route plus the 10K route. And for the full marathon, you run the entire route four times.

You can find maps of the various routes at this link. And there’s a dynamic visualization of the full marathon at this link. 

The cost to enter this race is $45 for the 6K and 10K, or $70 for the 21K, 30K and 42K. This gets you a T-shirt, visor, bib, GPS chip, hydration, snacks, medical assistance, life and accident insurance (seriously), sandals (we don’t recommend running in them), and on top of all that a pasta dinner served at Margaritaville the night before. 

A rep for the marathon said some 300 people are expected to run the full marathon, while up to 2,000 total may participate in the various races.

My girlfriend, Guiselle, had a very reasonable suggestion: “What if we just pay $45 for the pasta dinner and don’t run anywhere?”

I ran, I ran so far away

I once dated a girl in California who loved to run, run, run — as often as possible and as far as possible. Her idea of a romantic date was to run eight miles up and down a mountain in Palo Alto. We once ran past Steve Jobs’ old house, and she told me her kids went to the same school as his kids.

She talked me into entering the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in San Jose (California, not Costa Rica) on Oct. 7, 2012. My favorite part of this race was the jovial neighbor offering free margarita shots on his front lawn at 6 a.m. I wanted to ask how many I could have, but my girlfriend wouldn’t let me tarry.

We finished this race at a sprint — by then I was in such great shape that I could have run this half marathon twice.

I thought I had a pretty good relationship with that girl, but one day she ran off.

Many years earlier, back in the 1980s, I once ran 11 miles in Emporia, Kansas, when the temperature was 11°F — roughly the temperature where your breath turns to icicles. I was wearing heavy sweatpants, but that didn’t prevent one part of me from freezing that we don’t need to talk about. 

I had a running buddy in Emporia who liked to run marathons, and I once ran 15 miles with him — my personal best. A couple of years later, I came close to this distance while training for the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon, but my knees hurt so bad afterward that I limped for days. I was reluctantly forced to admit that maybe this wasn’t the sport for me.

But enough about me — have you set your alarm yet for the middle of the night on Sept. 17?

The benefits of running in the Flamingo Beach Marathon

Long-distance running offers all kinds of benefits, including cardiovascular health, increased lung capacity and pain in parts of your body where you didn’t even know you had parts.

But the pain is fleeting — you ever seen a Kenyan finishing a marathon who looked unhappy?

Guiselle: “Karl, I think this is a perfect idea for you.”

Karl: “But I don’t like to do things alone.”

Guiselle: “You spend all day alone at your computer.”

Karl: “That’s different.”

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