Panama City International Marathon - August. The marathon starts outside the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, about 9 kilometers from the official hotel. After a couple hundred yards, it turns onto Via Espana, one of Panama's principal streets. The first twelve kilometers follow this street, with some gentle slopes, through several residential and business districts. At kilometer 12.5 we arrive at the pedestrian mall, an area in the older part of the city. We make a right turn and head uphill toward Martyrs' Avenue, which skirts the base of Ancon Hill. This avenue once marked the boundary between Panama and the Canal Zone. This is a fairly pronounced uphill section, rising ten meters in the space of 500 meters. As we continue along Martyrs' Avenue around Ancon Hill, there is one dip of about ten meters followed by a rise of fifteen meters and then a dip of fifteen meters, all in the space of a couple of kilometers. This is the most abrupt elevation change on the route. At kilometer 14 we leave Martyrs' Avenue to enter the Amador Causeway. Formerly a U.S. military base built on an artificial peninsula made of spoil from digging the Panama Canal, the Causeway is now in the midst of feverish development. Hotels, a convention center (host to the 2003 Miss Universe pageant), marinas, cruise port, restaurants and shops and the soon-to-be constructed Museum of Ecology dot the landscape. The Causeway, which marks one side of the entrance channel to the Panama Canal, also offers an unexcelled view of ships entering and leaving this seventh wonder of the world. The Causeway is practically flat at five meters above sea level. At kilometer 25 we leave Amador behind and return to Martyrs' Avenue, again skirting Ancon Hill with its fifteen meter rise and fall. At kilometer 27 we make a right turn and plunge through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, emerging this time on Balboa Avenue, which runs along the seaside. At kilometer 31.5, we pass the official hotel, the Plaza Paitilla Inn, located in Paitilla, a bustling conglomeration of luxury high-rise condominiums and shops of every description. The route gets a bit hilly here as we negotiate a series of small rises and falls. At kilometer 36 we pass through Panama Viejo, the original site of Panama which was sacked by Henry Morgan in 1671, but whose ruins still stand. It is now just six kilometers till we again arrive at our starting point, the Rommel Fernandez Stadium. We enter the stadium, take a lap around the track, and finish. You may not be enjoying this scenery too much as you are dealing with the heat and the humidity. The temperature will probably start at around 77 Farenheit degrees at 6 a.m. and may rise to 85 at 9 a.m. With relative humidity around 80 or 90 percent, you will sweat. To help you along, the marathon organizers have provided for hydration at 2 kilometers intervals during the first part of the race and at 1 kilometer intervals toward the end.