Thursday, August 25, 1988

TR Brazil

Trip Report
8/17 – 8/22/88


Rio de Janeiro Marathon
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sat, Aug 20/88
Marathon # 27 – Country # 3

 I am writing this report 27 years later in order to include this race in a book that I am writing about Maddog’s marathons/adventures.

 To date I had only run marathons in the USA & Canada and I figured I should broaden my horizon and run  marathons in a few foreign countries.  Since Nicole aka the Sports Manager and I always wanted to visit Rio why not run a marathon there?

 We checked into our hotel on Copacabana Beach a few days before the race and started to explore Rio. What a beautiful city! We took a city tour that included downtown attractions such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Cinelandia Square, Copacabana, Ipanema and other beaches of Niteroi. We then made our way to the Urca neighborhood, where we boarded a cable car for a ride up Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).  During the ride, we made a quick stop at a 700-foot (215-meter) vantage point to admire stunning views of the city, from Guanabara Bay to Rio’s other famous mountain, Corcovado.

Then we ascended to the peak of Sugar Loaf for breathtaking views of Copacabana Beach, the Santa Cruz Fortress and the beaches of Niteroi.
We then continued to Corcovado Mountain where we took a cog train for a scenic ride through the Tijuca Rainforest and up to the city’s most iconic landmark — the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor). Standing at an elevation of 2,300 feet (700 meters), the 1930s statue boasts a height of 98 feet (30 meters) and a wingspan of 92 feet (28 meters) and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The next day we toured the some of the favelas (slums) of Rio followed by a walk along Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. We had been careful to follow advice not to wear jewelry and protect our wallets but I was stopped on Ipanema Beach by a cop who admonished me for using a video camera. He warned me that flashing such wealth was asking for trouble!
Sat was ‘M’- day. The race started at 5 pm which was a totally new experience for me. I wasn’t sure what to eat, if I should rest and how my body would react to starting in the heat of the day and finishing in the dark? The race started and finished in Copacabana. It was very HOT & humid at the start. Around the 10-mile mark the course went up onto an elevated freeway where there was no protection from the sun and the heat was brutal! I had foolishly set a goal to run a sub 3-hr race.  By the time the sun set and the temps cooled a bit I was already dehydrated and struggling. At 20 miles I was in trouble! The left side of my body felt numb and my left arm was tingling? I felt nauseous & dizzy? I knew I was dehydrated but was I having a heart attack or suffering heat exhaustion? I slowed down and struggled across the finish line in 3:05.

 I walked straight to the medical tent for help! Nobody spoke English. I tried to use sign language to explain my symptoms and problems. Luckily one doctor understood some of my cries and was experienced with treating runners at a finish line. Before the nurses could stick an IV into me for dehydration he gave me a glass of orange juice. I drank it down and ‘immediately’ started to feel better? I drank another glass and the tingling in my arm stopped and the nausea went away? I was suffering from low blood sugar and the sugar in the juice helped restore my levels. This was the first time I had suffered these symptoms but it was not to be the last! I thanked the doc, got up off the bed and walked outside to find the SM. We walked directly to an outdoor cafe and order two large Cokes. After I gulped then down I was almost back to normal.
On sun we were tired of the hustle & bustle of Rio so we hired a car & driver to drive us down the coast to the small village of Paraty. It was remote, rural and very pretty – and much quieter than Rio. We enjoyed a peaceful day exploring Paraty and the coast.

It was time to go back home & back to work. We enjoyed our trip to Rio. I can’t really say that I enjoyed the race but I did finish Country # 3 and my 2nd continent. I didn’t know yet that I had begun a quest to run all seven continents?





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