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Getting Back in the Race

December 3, 2023

by Luisa Ruiz

Two Mondays ago, as I was coming out of Chikatana restaurant, having just enjoyed a delicious lunch with a friend, someone told us that soon the street, Calzada de la Aurora would be closed to traffic. The day was a holiday, a celebration of the Mexican Revolution, and a race was about to be run. Neither of us knew about this event.

We walked towards the Jardín, along the route the foot race would take. When I arrived at Mesones, I stood outside a parking lot and struck up a conversation with a policeman and another man, asking them where the race started. They told me that there were three starting points: Atotonilco Sanctuary, La Vista gated-community and the roundabout in front of Las Ventanas.

Every few minutes the policeman received updates on the progress of the race, where the runners were. In short while I saw the first runners, two young men, neck and neck. I wasn't at the finish line at that moment, so I can't tell you which won. I asked the cop if he knew how many people were participating but he didn't.

Little by little more and more runners appeared. Some turned out to be children, some alone and others with mom or dad. I also saw two blind people united by a cord running with a sighted person leading them.

For more than half an hour I cheered them on, calling "Bravo" to the runners passing by. As it was the last leg of the race, many of the runners looked tired. I think our applause helped them keep going.

As I looked at all the runners, my mind was transported to the days when I too was a runner. I ran for many years. But recently I haven't because I gained weight.

When I was nine years old, I trained in a sports center and ran 400 and 800 meter races. In high school athletics, I ran 3 and 5 km. At university, I devoted myself so much to studying that I didn't do much exercise.

In 2003, when I was 26 years old, I started working, teaching chemistry at the Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe. At that time, I resumed my life as a runner when the first 10 km race was organized on campus. From 2003 to 2016 I started participating in 5, 10 and 15 km races in Mexico City, where I was born and lived for 40 years. There were races almost every weekend. A few years after resuming running, I decided to run my first half marathon. Then, in 2010, I ran my first marathon. That was in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, a place famous for giving birth to Shakespeare.

The author in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England

When I look back on it all, I am very satisfied. I have achieved a lot in running. It takes a lot of discipline and perseverance to train for and run a marathon. Preparing for the day takes at least three months.

The last race I participated in was the Mexico City Marathon in August 2016. With that marathon I celebrated my 40th birthday. Not exercising as much, but eating just the same, I gained weight.

Watching the race two Mondays ago made me want to run again. Yesterday, walking towards my yellow car, I thought, I have a year to lose weight and train because next year I will be running in San Miguel's next Mexican Revolution road race. I'll send you photos.


Luisa Ruiz is a chemistry teacher, transpersonal psychotherapist, grief counselor and workshop facilitator, death doula. The Founder of Death Café in Mexico, she has worked for the NGO Uno en Voluntad giving grief workshops. She also worked for Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation as a course and workshop facilitator and as a death doula. She loves reading, writing, hiking and travelling.


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