Ernesto Gugig Zambrano was born in Caracas, Venezuela, twentynine years ago. He is a lawyer and started running few months ago, although he has been practicing soccer, swimming and yoga most of his life. He does not belong to any running club but runs four times a week with some other friends, usually about ten kilometers each time. The place where Ernesto trains is a city park, and he tries to vary his route every time. When running, he does not listen to any music because he prefers nature's sounds or to talk with his friends.
Before a run, he does not eat anything special, usually just a fruit such as an apple or a banana, as there is nothing specific in Venezuela that runners eat. Sometimes he runs on liquid alone "but after I have a good brakfast".
Running in Caracas is affected by the fact that there are only two seasons, the rainy one and the dry one, although even in the rainy season the rain never lasts more than an hour, sometimes even less, so the weather is great for running all year round! He prefers to run when the temperature is around 28 to 30 degrees Centigrades, so early around 6 in the morning because it is usually a little cooler at that time of the day.
His running apparel consists in a T-shirt, shorts and his running shoes. He prefers the dry-fit fabric from the different brands. Ernesto owns three pairs of running shoes, and one pair is for trail running. Other than that, he runs with no running accessories or aids (such as water bottle, reflective clothes, etc.).
He keeps himself up to date by reading "Runner's World" and "Running Times".
Running in Venezuela is a very popular activity among men and women (Caracas even has its own annual international marathon), but other sports such as baseball and basketball are a lot more popular. Some people run with dogs but the Parque del Este, the local popular running place, does not accept pets. If you are a runner traveling to Venezuela, you will find that Venezuelans are in general very friendly people. There are no religious activities, philosophies or cultural activities affect running in this country, and not even taboos. Running shirtless is accepted, and as a matter of fact a lot of people do run without a T-shirt.
The only thing that Ernesto warns foreign runners about is that "we have the most beatiful women in the world so watch were youre going". There are no other hazards, except if you choose to run in the streets watch for the cars, as people drive pretty crazy. Caracas has a high crime rate, so running late at night by yourself is not advisable.
Ernesto in his running career, participated in several organized events. The most popular distances in Venezuela are 5k, 10k and marathons, some of which are organized to raise funds for charity activities. The entry fee is usually very cheap (approximately 8 U.S. dollars for a 10k distance). Refreshment points along the course provide the runners with water and power drinks. Participants are generally awarded T-shirts and food. There is also usually a medal for everyone that finishes, apart from the T-shirt, and winners get trophies and cash.
The main difference Ernesto found when running in a foreign country - he participated in a race in California (United States of America) - was the weather. The "Paris marathon" is also on his list.
When asked "In your whole life where and when was your favorite run?" Ernesto enthusiastically replied that when he runs in the parque del Este, this is his all-time favorite place and every day he runs his favourite run.
Run The Planet would like to thank Ernesto Gugig Zambrano from Venezuela for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.