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A warm afternoon, a rugged gravel road and … more than 300
athletes defying these conditions and turning them into a real
challenge. The First Athletics Race Mapache 2007, held last
December 1st, was an absolute success.
Athletes from all over the country came to participate in one more
sporting and recreational event organized by Grupo Mapache and Grupo
Extra, marking the beginning of the year-end festivities.
The race was dedicated to 19-year old Gilbert Duarte Noguera, who
participated in the Special Olympics recently organized in Shanghai,
China. He works at Rancho La Ponderosa, in El Salto de Bagaces,
Guanacaste, right where the competition took place.
Having practiced this discipline for over one year, Duarte, native of
Guanacaste, says that the experience of participating in an Olympiad was
“quite an honor because I was able to worthily represent Costa Rica.” He
won silver in 100 meters flat, fifth place in the relay race, and seventh in
200 meters flat.
The participation of important national athletes, like Roy
Vargas Cordero, Pedro Jiménez Arrieta and Gabriela Traña
Trigueros, certainly raised the profile of this activity. They
clearly showed why they are the best!
In fact Traña was the first woman to cross the finish line,
where she proudly admitted, “I am very pleased with this
success; the harsh climate and the rugged terrain turned
it into an interesting track, putting our physical fitness to
trial.”
Having won first place in national races for about five
years now, she more recently broke the record in 5,000 and
3,000 meters flat, and in 3,000 meter hurdles. In 2007 she
got involved in the marathon discipline, ending first in the
Disney Marathon in the United Status and seventh in Venice,
Italy. For 2008, her goal is to bring down the national record
of 2hrs 44min 33 seconds.
Winner Roy Vargas commented, “The race was tough
because of the weather; I was expecting flatter terrain, so it
was quite a challenge.” With this victory, 15-year veteran
Vargas kept the first place he has held for the last six months
in similar events in Costa Rica. “This year (2007) has been
one of the most successful in my sporting career. I won nine
in a row!” he boasted.
Towards the end of the afternoon, the athletes moved on
to enjoy a bullfight at the La Ponderosa ring. During the
intermission, their participation in the First Athletics Race
Mapache 2007 was rewarded with 8 million Colones in
cash.