Our East Coast ultrarunner Jon Loewus-Deitch is traveling through Central America working on climate change adaptation and disaster resilience with the Nicaraguan Red Cross (and occasionally testing some gear for us). In the meantime, he’s sending back reports from the field on how different life can be when you’re in a town whose name would single-handedly win you a game of Scrabble. After a recent test run with some of Polarmax’s XTRDRY cotton shirt and AYG 365 undies, he jotted a list of reasons why a daily run is an adventure when you’re in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Here are our favorites:
1. Not a single surface is level.
2. Have good balance…sidewalks are like planks no wider than your body with vehicles ready to get you.
3. 1 roaming malnourished stray dog is okay, more than 3, run faster and go a different direction.
4. Pouring rain makes for slippery surfaces, especially when every step you take is on a different type of surface.
5. It’s like trail running, but instead of dodging roots, you dodge rebar, open manholes, cars and dog poop.
6. Heeding the warnings about evil people in the afternoon on the mountain that is El Baul Parque, you run with a pocket knife in hand.
7. Military/Police (park rangers) carry assault rifles at the top (while a couple makes out next to them).
8. Run faster on quiet mountain roads when you get nervous.
9. Rain somehow cleans you off AND makes you more dirty.
10. The farm land on the other side of the mountain is amazing and on the steepest hills you’ve ever seen.
11. High jumping skills help you get onto the sidewalks before oncoming cars get to you.
12. You say “buenas tardes.” A lot.
13. Mayan women dressed in amazing colors and carrying 20 to 30 pounds on their head look at you like you’re nuts.
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Author: Billy Brown