Ajijic will be the focal point for hard core runners this summer with two rough and tumble mountain races scheduled exactly four weeks apart.
The well-established Carrera de la Chupinaya comes up first on Sunday, July 16, while the greenhorn alternative La Campanaria is set for August 13.
The Chupinaya challenge wraps in two contests: the grueling 13.8 kilometer “Solo para Salvajes” (For Savages Only) route that tops out at 2,400 meters (7,875 feet) above sea level, and the gentler 6.5 kilometer recreational course peaking at a slightly lower elevation.
Both races begin and end at the village plaza, with start times staggered at 10 a.m. for the Savages run and 10:15 for the short race.
Racers trek over cobblestone streets, scrambling up into the hills and back again. They follow markers and trail guides dispersed along the way to navigate narrow, rocky and muddy trails, creek beds, boulders and abundant summer foliage, as well as several steep segments that require highly technical footwork.
La Chupinaya is recognized as a pioneer event for Mexico’s increasingly popular mountain racing circuit, and one of the most daunting contests of its type on the world map. Ajijic was selected as host venue for the 2011 and 2014 North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Championships, bringing in top-ranked mountain runners from the United States and Canada.
This year marks the race’s twenty-first anniversary, ranking as a high-profile national athletic encounter. It has become such a hot-ticket contest that all 700 racing numbers sold out just ten days after registrations opened in mid-May.
Competitors register in male and female divisions, each split into various age categories. All runners receive a commemorative tee shirt and a complimentary post-race communal comida at the plaza. Medals and sports gear packages are awarded for the best times in each category. Cash prizes go to runners who break time records set in six divisions at previous full-length runs.
Next month’s fourth annual Campanaria contest will encompass three separate races through Ajijic’s contiguous mountain range, set for distances of 9.1, 14 and 43 kilometers. To register for one of 400 available runner spots contact Daniel Urzúa at Cell 33-1443-1050. See full details at www.clubsalvajesajijic.com/campanaria-2017.