On Sunday five members of the group participated with several hundred others in a race from Managua to the city of Masaya, 20 miles southeast of the capital. The race commemorates a 1979 nighttime trek of several thousand Nicaraguans during the war that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship. On Sunday runners could choose different distances, with most running nine miles or less, but the GC runners all went the full 20 miles to Masaya. Two of the GC runners placed in the top 5 for their category and won prizes. Everyone was very tired and thirsty by the end.
Since arriving in Nicaragua, Alejandro, Jordan and Ali had been running long distances as part of their normal cross-country training. Emily and Maria S. had also been running increasing distances in preparation for the race. Unfortunately for Ali, she injured her foot a week before the race and wasn’t able to participate. Caleb, on the other hand, who has been playing soccer but not doing training runs, decided only the night before to run in the 20-mile race. There ought to be a law…
The race started shortly before 8 a.m., and the runners were arriving in Masaya between 10 and 11:30, before the hottest part of the day. Masaya has an elevation about 500 feet higher than Managua, and most of the 20 miles was gradually going uphill. Unfortunately for Maria, while grabbing a Gatorade she fell and scraped both her knees, but she was able to keep on running.
The students noted afterwards that while the race organization was lacking in some ways, it was definitely a good cultural experience they will long remember.
While the race went through the streets of Managua, along the highway to Masaya, and then through the streets of Masaya, the original 1979 trek avoided the highway so as to avoid detection by Somoza’s army. Those in the original march were mostly from several Managua neighborhoods that had rebelled against Somoza’s army and been able to hold it off for 17 days, but knew they couldn’t continue much longer. When Somoza’s army had recaptured other neighborhoods in Managua or other cities, it massacred large numbers of civilians indiscriminately, which is why those who escaped in the Repliegue a Masaya (Retreat to Masaya) had travelled at night and avoided the highway.