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• WISCONSIN (USA) / Run Ring Run
On June 23, 2002 the Wisconsin race calendar lists the annual "Green Bay Marathon". This American road race - thanks to its sponsor - is featuring Cellcom Cellular Phone Service "Convenience Stations" along the course which allows all participants to call home while running.
• BRAZIL / São Silvestre International
The 77th edition of the most traditional road race in Brazil was a huge event! Nothing less than 17,000 athletes came together on the streets of São Paulo to race in the last day of the year. The fans were presented by Brazilian Maria Zeferina victory in the women's race. She covered the hard 15k course in 52.12. Second place was Kenyan Margaret Okayo, "New York City marathon" champion and record holder, in 52.23. Among the men, Ethiopian Tesfaye Jifar, also "New York City marathon" champion and record holder, won in 44.15. Jifar was followed by Kenyan Guilbert Okari in 44.32 and Tanzanian John Yuda in 44.37. The best Brazilian was Marilson Santos, finishing in the fourth place in 44.43.
• NETHERLANDS / Half Marathon Rockanje
On January 27th, this event is organised under the auspices of Rotterdam Marathon (their website also offers info about this event), and takes place along a good piece of half-frozen sand (well, what did you expect?), cycling roads and the like. Last edition there were hundreds of entrants and weather conditions were fairly attractive. Very accessible from Rotterdam and north of Belgium area.
• NETHERLANDS / Midwintermarathon in Apeldoorn
A real classic. Date is January 26th. Four races of 7.8k, 18k, 27k and 42k through a beautiful and sometimes snowed course, right in the centre of this country. Four hundred marathon runners, 1260 runners for the "Asselronde" (the 27k choice, perhaps the best for the season), and 1700 finishers for the mini (18k) made a marvellous event of it in 2001. You can share three inches of snow with Kenyan and Russian runners. Where else can you do it? There is a website in Dutch and German at www.midwintermarathon.nl
• ALGERIA / A marathon in the desert
On February 25, 2002, the second edition of the "Sahara marathon" will take starting from the Western Sahara Refugee Camps in Tindouf, Algeria. The event features a 5k Celebration Run/Walk, a 10k Participation Race, a 13.1 mile half marathon, a 26.2 full marathon in addition to a Bedouin camel race and a U.S. & European "Companion Runs". The distance to there is great, the logistics will be cumbersome, the course will be difficult, the desert can be harsh and unforgiving, the ordeal will be tiring... but you will feel fulfilled because the Sahrawi refugees will feel loved, hope will be rekindled, new friendships will be made and this could be the adventure of your lifetime. This is your chance to take a week of your life, travel to North Africa and live and run in this most difficult yet breathtaking place on earth: the Sahara Desert. Beginning on the western coast of Africa and extending across the size of the United States, this desert and its challenges are legend. Those who visit leave inspired by the sheer expanse of the unbroken vista from horizon to horizon. The desert in its isolation is beautiful, yet the conditions can be so continually harsh that little is able to survive. How could anyone live there? Yet 185,000 Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara and their children have lived there every day for 25 years. How? People like you have helped by providing food, shelter and the essentials needed to sustain life. And through their determination to make this their temporary home, the Sahrawis have remarkably coaxed salt water gardens from the desert sands. The "Sahara Marathon" is an event to help kindle their spirit, build hope and provide some desperately needed funds for medical, educational and nutritional needs of the Sahrawi children. Runners, supporters and sponsors alike will be making a valuable contribution to these children's survival.
• NETHERLANDS / The 60 van Texel
Finally held in mid fall, after "foot and mouth" restrictions last spring. It normally takes place in a fantastic Waddenzee island (Texel), very accessible from mainland, every other year in Easter holidays. This fall, the run around the island (20% beach, 30% bike paths and 50% asphalt, clockwise) attracted 17 runners to the 120k (two laps!) and 71 to the 60k. A perfect, windy, humid and creepy day for ultrarunning also allowed 30k and 4x15k relays to enjoy this very party of Dutch long-distance running. The website www.ultraned.org gives Dutch language results and chronicle. I have entered the 1999 60k event and it is higly recommended. Ideal to spend some days on holiday.
• SPAIN / Madrid is running wild again
After the appearance of the "Madrid Millennium Marathon" last October, the classic "Maraton Popular de Madrid", usually held in April, counterattacks with new website, new ideas, as the 25th anniversary will occur towards the end of April 2002. If Planeteers are thinking what to do if London is too familiar or has to be seen on television, Rotterdam is too cold or Paris too busy to enter a 25,000 crowd, "MaPoMa" continues growing and offering a picturesque but hilly race. Last edition had a 10,000 field, and was inserted in the Adidas circuit of marathon races. Spring is at is best (not too warm, not too wet) towards the end of April, and scenery and crowds could worth a visit. Personal bests won't improve: 2001 winning time of 2:19 give a clear idea of the course. But percentages of sub-3:30 and 4:00 are great, making the most of the pack. Will competition between twin races lead to runners' satisfaction? Start making 2002 agendas!
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