Due Diligence


Come To Galapagos Marathon 

The 2014 Come to Galapagos Marathon is ON!
October 19, 2014

Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon

This will be the fourth annual Come to Galapagos Marathon. We had to cancel the marathon for 2013 for lack of sponsor support. The first three years organizing the marathon cost us, aside from all of the work more than $80,000.

We would like to thank everyone who helped or participated in the first three marathons. Your help and participation made it possible for there to be a fourth, albeit after a year’s sabbatical.

So very many people have written, hoping that we could somehow continue to hold the event that we decided to take a different approach this year; instead of holding a public event, this year it will be private, held only for the runners that sign up for the “marathon package” (see below). We will have both a marathon and half marathon. We will be hand timing the race.

Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon

The people overseeing the event will be the Come to Galapagos family: farm workers, fishermen, restaurant staff, hotel owners, Galapagos Park guides, etc. all the people that regularly work with us caring for our guests here on San Cristobal.

Click Here for ESPN’s coverage of the 2012 Come To Galapagos Marathon
Click Here for 2014 packages, registration/release forms,
2010, 2011 & 2012 results/reviews/photos.

Meals provided during the marathon tour will as much as possible feature locally caught fish,
locally grown produce and fruits, locally made cheeses and yogurt.
The date was chosen for three reasons:

#1- October is one of the cooler months here. Typical high temperature 70 degrees, generally slightly over cast, far better running conditions than 85 degrees with 95 percent humidity and a blistering equatorial sun.
#2- The date is far enough off to give people time to plan.
#3- October is one of the less traveled months here, hence the runners will have less impact on visitor sites, etc. And the Family Come to Galapagos will get a financial shot in the arm when they can use it the most.

We have more than twenty runners “interested” all ready. We need only eight for us to give this new format a shot. My guess is we’ll have to close registration for the event at forty-eight. This is the first year we will be handling it in this format. Our first concern is for the runner’s safety and second for their experience here. We will not compromise either by accepting a volume of runners that would put us in a position where we would not feel confident in our ability to address these concerns. Let us get one year of this new format “under our belt” and we’ll see what we can do next year.


Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon Come to Galapagos 2014 Marathon

We would like to encourage visiting runners to sponsor local runners, this can be done by paying for a local runner’s entrance fee ($50 to cover costs of T-shirts, bibs, “swag”, etc.) and/or optionally sending shoes, writing letters regarding training etc. In this manner we will be able to include more local runners without increasing base costs for internationally arriving participants.

Another manner of supporting the event might be, perhaps one of you is the runner and the other enjoys traveling with and supporting your running partner. We can always use help at aid stations, logistical coordination, any number of things.

A more dynamic option and one I hope will be accepted by someone would be to sponsor a local institutional race within the private race. The navy, the police and the municipality have traditionally competed in this event when it was public. They are all competitive with each other over many issues. I could envision a running club, charity or company sponsoring the continuation of this, paying for the entry fees, offering a prize and garnering positive PR for their efforts, or at the very least a story to tell and an effort to be proud of.

Yet another option for anyone wishing to contribute might be to simply help “sponsor” the event, help us pay for costs (maybe pay for the t-shirts or medals or trophies), get your logo on a tee shirt, banner, bibs. We’re talking about maybe fifty to a hundred t-shirts so the race and its participants are not a huge PR opportunity, but there are enumerable advertising options regarding your good works with the Come To Galapagos Marathon in higher profile locations.

The marathon over the first three years has put more than $500,000 directly into the local economy, has had a unifying effect on local institutions and agencies, and has fostered a herd of dedicated local runners.

We try to plan and organize every detail, but each year something wonderful happens that we didn’t plan. The first year there was a farmer cheering and throwing flower peddles as the marathon runners past and there was the group of kids playing soccer at the stadium near the finish line who got the bright idea to escort the marathon runners as they entered the stadium and made their way around the last 300 meters of the track to the finish line. The kids liked it because they got to cross the finish line and receive the applause again and again. The runners said it was the most helpful thing that had ever happened to them finishing a marathon.

Last year there was a man at kilometer 32 giving the runners that wanted it, a bucket full of water on the head. He just happened to be there at K 32, “the wall”. Several runners told me that bucket of water and that man standing there with his willingness to help them made the difference. There is an old woman who sits at “four corners” every day with her wheel barrow, selling a dollar’s worth of whatever fruit is in season here. It is her only source of income. If I’m passing I always stop and buy whatever she’s selling whether I need it or not. The day of the marathon she wheeled her wheel barrow full of fruit the few blocks over to the stadium and just gave us all she had “for the runners”, she said.

And each year there have also been some goof ups. The first year we had a police man directing the last runners off the course (short cut to the finish line). In 2011 a corporal in the navy decided to clean up the last four aid stations while there were still fifteen runners attempting to finish the course. I turned into a mobile aid station on my ATV, hydrating these last runners home.

Normally our business is customizing private tours of the Galapagos, so over the years we’ve seen many kinds of travelers. I have to say marathon runners as a whole are some of the most gracious, patient, appreciative visitors we have had the pleasure of sharing these islands with.

Ideally, what you want for a marathon course is a 42 kilometer oval on a flat plane, within a high branched pine forest so that it is shady and the pine needles make for a nice cushy running surface. You want the oval so that the race can begin and end at the same point; anything less than that is a compromise.

We have no pine forests, no flats to speak of. The longest mostly paved road on the island is 26 kilometers long, but I came up with the easiest course I could find, one that among other things, crosses five climatic zones, features extraordinary vistas and passes spots where occasionally there are grazing wild giant tortoises and lounging sea lions.

It is a “tough” course. Most runners if they start running to see how fast they can do it, soon give the idea up and settle into the idea of just enjoying the run. Please see results/reviews/photos from previous years.

The marathon course starts at 574 meters above sea level on the highest part of the paved road which crosses the island. It ends at a small beach in town about a hundred yards from your hotel. The course is run on asphalt, cement, inlaid blocks or dirt road. There are two stretches that run along the coast. The runners will pass through 5 vegetation zones (miconia, scalesia, transitional, arid and costal). Figuring in all of the undulations the course has an approximate net downhill of 808 meters (2,650.9 ft.) and an approximate net uphill of 234 meters (767.7 ft.). The last 10 kilometers have a net rise of 75 meters (246 ft.) and fall of 60 meters (196.5 ft.). The last 3 kilometers are relatively flat.

The half marathon is run entirely on asphalt, cement, inlaid blocks or dirt road. It starts at 574 meters above sea level on the highest part of the paved road which crosses the island. It ends at a small beach in town about a hundred yards from your hotel, has an approximate net downhill of 584 meters (1,916 ft.) and an approximate net uphill of 42 meters (137.8 ft.).