This was not just a sports festivity to commemorate Chile’s Bicentennial. It also became another example of the solidarity of its inhabitants, which led close to 22,000 runners to participate in a new version of the Santiago Marathon. This year the event was dedicated to the disaster-stricken victims of this year’s mega-earthquake of 27 February.
In this way, the competitors became part of Chile’s history by taking part in the “largest participatory sporting event in the history of the nation”, as highlighted by Álvaro González, president of the Chilean Athletic Federation. But this wasn’t the only record: the participants also formed the largest human flag in history, as a symbol of the country’s unity in the face of the recent disaster.
At the starting point, the athletes, dressed in the red, white and blue of the Chilean flag, were placed according to the three categories of the competition (marathon, half-marathon and 10 kilometers), giving shape to the symbolic expression of solidarity.
The winner of the competition was Ethiopian athlete Alene Reta, who obtained first place after completing the 42-kilometer run in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 33 seconds. He also established a record in the history of the meet, which last year was won by Kenyan George Oguora.
The best-placed Chilean was Francisco Méndez, who arrived in fifth place at the finish line, located in front of La Moneda, the Chilean Presidential Palace.
The women’s trophy went to a local, Natalia Ramos, outperforming last year’s winner, Erika Olivera, also Chilean, who on this occasion made fourth place.
The half-marathon was won by Chileans Víctor Aravena and Clara Morales in the male and female categories, respectively. Finally, the 10-kilometer category, which featured amateur long-distance runners, was won by Iván López and Jocelyn Fernández, respectively.