Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba

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My memories of the Varadero Marathon

Gloria Machado León 13 abril, 2018

A few hours after the healthy return of the long-term races to Varadero, with the Half Marathon scheduled for a few hours, we search in our archives for the beginnings of an event that caught the attention of fans and bathers since 1984.

Both as a reporter and as a narrator, I had the privilege of covering some of these careers that were developed by the main arteries of the Spa City and that had as vital driver the photojournalist Juan Quián Núñez.

Quián, already deceased, was an important part in the organization of these corridas, of which he was his press chief, for that reason the return of the walkers to his beloved Varadero does not stop being a tribute also to this unforgettable companion.

This battle on the asphalt arose on the initiative of the sports activities department of INTUR, approved by the Directorate of the INDER to begin in 1984 with the marathon and half marathon events. On that occasion, more than one hundred runners from Nicaragua, Spain, France and Cuba participated.

A year later, in the second version, the figure rose to 326 and the previous countries joined forces representing Angola and Venezuela, both in the 42-kilometer and 195-meter races, and in the half of that stretch.

In 1986 more than 400 athletes attended, adding new visitors from Mexico, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ethiopia, Canada, New Zealand and Czechoslovakia. Along with the most extensive presentations, the ten-kilometer one was joined.

Already for the following year they incorporated the distance of five kilometers, of popular character and the participants added 735. In this occasion the debutantes came from Italy, Zambia, Sierra Leone and the German Democratic Republic.

It was so much the welcome of these lides, run in the so-called high season tourism, that in 1988 had to celebrate the five and ten kilometers a day before the marathon and half marathon, always leaving and finish in front of the Park of the Eight Thousand Lockers.

The winners of the different distances received trophies and the one who did it in the marathon was added a week’s stay with the expenses paid in one of the Varadero hotels.

Already in 1992, in the ninth edition, long distance runners from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Cuba competed and for the first time competed by age category.

On this occasion the organizers extended the event for three days, since on a Friday they ran at 4:00 in the afternoon the ten kilometers and on Saturday the marathon and the average.

The inscription was so wide for the five kilometers that it was necessary to leave it for Sunday, becoming a great town party, since cycling and skating competitions were also developed, as well as cultural activities.

Although these Touristic Marathons of Varadero continued, that ninth edition was for this writer the last one to cover for Radio 26.

It was a beautiful stage that increased the prestige of Varadero as a sports organizer, which since 1910, with the start of rowing competitions in Cuba, had made history and continued in 1921 with national swimming competitions.

For this weekend the Cuban Athletics Federation, under the auspices of the Meliá hotel chain, rescue a competition that should not have disappeared. Congratulations.

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