The São Silvestre Run

Posted: January 4, 2013 by Ben Weber in English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , ,

São Silvestre - Paulista

With the all-round aerobic training, and as having enjoyed running (though never too seriously) since high school, I thought that it would be good to enter in to the São Silvestre 15km/10 mile race that occurs in São Paulo on 31 December every year.

Sao SilvestreThe route, in summary, leaves from Paulista Avenue – one of the main tourist roads – goes downhill to the Pacaembu football stadium, before going around the old centre to Republica, and finally going on a steady climb uphill (from 765m to 838m) for around two kilometres up Av. Brigadeiro Luis Antonio back to Paulista. A nice route.

I was entering, certainly not to win as I have neither the slight physique nor the serious running experience, but to test myself to see how I got on mentally and physically. I thought before the race that if I managed to complete it at 100 minutes (9km per hour), I would be happy, though from my time on the treadmill and occasional runs outside I believed it could be possible in 90 minutes (10km/hour) – though of course running outside is considerably different to running inside the gym.

The day before the race, Sunday, was calm. We just had a walk to register for the race and pick up the kit, and then walk for a few hours through São Paulo to Casa de Pedra where we had an hour or so climbing just to make a break. Nothing at all exhausting or strenuous. Added to that some good high carb (pasta!) meals, and it was a nice day. An early rise at 7am on the day of the run.

And so to the start of the race at 9am… there were just masses of people. Great atmosphere. I think in total about 25,000 people, who generated lots of noise as they waited for the start to sound. Lots of banners, lots of fancy dress. Lots of Corinthians football team supporters as well, who weren’t shy in making it known about who they actually supported. And lots of people watching and cheering us all on. I was somewhere in the middle of them (probably managed to get about 400 metres from the actual start line before I couldn’t move any further forward; it was impossible to see how far the masses stretched back), and when the start sounded, it took about five minutes for me to shuffle along to get to the start line, and probably about ten minutes or so before I could actually run freely without being stepped on and not stepping on others.

Past RepbulicaWith the 9am start it meant that the city hadn’t heated up too much, and over-night rain had helped refresh things: São Paulo can get extremely hot, even that early, so we were a bit lucky (I probably would have preferred it to be slightly cloudier, though the shade from the tall buildings helped as well for a lot of the time). There were six water/Gatorade supply points along the course as well, which helped keep us all refreshed.

The run went surprisingly well for me. I was able to keep my own steady pace – didn’t try or even think about running faster. The drinks at the points were helpful, though I didn’t in any way feel like I was desperate for hydration. When I came to the final two kilometres with that long climb up Brigadeiro to Paulista Avenue, when lots of people were stopping or walking, I was able to keep going and actually accelerate and manage to well, not quite sprint, but rather run much faster to the finish line. Pretty proud of myself, especially as I got a final time of 1h25m28s (or 85mins 28second) – 15 minutes quicker than I hoped – and, out of 16,253 male athletes, I was 4,483rd

So yes, quite happy with the morning’s work… it just meant that I was exhausted for the rest of New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day… and a bit of the day after..! But back to the gym now, as I want to take part in a couple of half-marathons this year (and hopefully the São Paulo or Rio marathons in 2014… but we shall see about this!).

I am a great fan of seeing the elevation profile of routes, so here it is for this run...

I am a great fan of seeing the elevation profile of routes, so here it is for this run…

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