Monday, 24 February 2014

El Cruce Columbia 2014, CHILE-ARGENTINA

The Most Chaotic/Disorganised Race I Have Ever Run So Far...

Are you looking to do a stage-race where you are never told beforehand what time you will start at each stage and what distance you will have to run?

Do you fancy the idea of running a 3-day stage-race without any briefing and "trivial" technical information relating to each stage before you run it?

Are you excited by the idea of running every day without any clue of the latest classification and the time difference among the runners competing for the top ten places (or the runners competing closest to you)?

Are you one of those who are not bothered to be offered only 500ml of water in ONE day simply because the organiser has run out of supply?

Finally, do you like the atmosphere of a big party/social event at a stage-race, where more than one thousand people gather to talk and socialise around their tents way up until midnight, making it impossible for you to get a good night sleep (even with your ear-plugs in)?

If you answer to all the above questions in a resounding ‘Yes’, then EL CRUCE COLUMBIA is most definitely your kind of race!

If, on the other hand, you are a serious runner who is looking for a good challenge of your personal limits after months of hard training and dedication...I will advise you never to take into consideration this race as you will only be faced with great disappointment like I and many other serious runners did at the recent 13th edition of the race!

From my humble point of view, the organisers seem to have concluded that by providing a "Hollywood-style" media coverage for the event (with 2 helicopters flying just few metres above the runners, 3 drones, 15 cameras and more than 100 journalists etc. etc), they have completed their most important job in organising the race. How wrong can they be!! Although many can be easily caught up in the euphoria of this much hyped-up marketing strategies and be seduced into registering for the race, I feel that I have to write about my experience to let others know how disorganised things were when we actually arrived in Chile for the ‘Check-In’ process.

El Cruce is not a new race. This one just passed was the 13th edition. What was new in the race, however, is the introduction of the Solo Category which came into effect only last year. This new format has consequently contributed to the significant increase of participants this year to around 2,800 in total for both the Team & Solo Categories. Any experienced organiser will anticipate a massive and challenging task ahead of them by having that high number of participants in a race - a task which requires a lot of planning and preparation. In addition, if the weather conditions is not ideal (which is usual and to be expected for the mountainous areas of the race), there must be a Plan B or Plan C on standby, to be activated when necessary.

I am sad to say that the organiser has failed miserably in this past edition. I will spare you the agony which the other runners and I have to endure for having to wait in long queues and having to be sent from one booth to another at the chaotic ‘Checking-In’ process. I will skip through all this pre-race confusion to pen down only my experience at the actual race itself. Based on my personal experience at the recent race, I have arrived at the conclusion that this is a race to be avoided if you have worked and trained hard and are looking forward to COMPETE in a challenging race.

DAY 1 (Climb of Volcano Osorno : 41km – 1450m of total ascent)

Despite the terrible weather conditions (windy, cold, foggy), I was so glad to be here at the Start Line. After many months of hard training in the miserable European winter and many years of continuous dreaming to run in this remote part of the world, I was looking forward to give in my best at this race and to push myself beyond my limits, if need be.

The first sign of how disorganised the race is going to be was the wrong information I got from one of the staff/volunteers, who has informed me that the race will start in groups based on the chronological order of our bib numbers. Having been assigned the number 1062, I decided to stay far from the long queue which has built up at the Start Line to wait for my turn.

At  08:15, and with 15' of delay from the scheduled start time, the Elite runners were flagged off at the Start Line. I then saw groups of runners pushing their way through to the Start Line without following any numerical order of their bib numbers as I have been told earlier! There was not any loud-speaker announcement or whatsoever. Runners just pushed their way through to the front and off they went in droves!! I was so angry for the wrong information given to me and without a second thought, I jumped through the fence and pushed my way to the front of the line while asking for forgiveness from the other runners. I managed to start my race almost 5’ behind the Elite runners and with about 30 runners ahead of me. Despite running along the coast on difficult terrain, I kept a very fast pace and overtook many runners.

After 3km, a gentle uphill awaited me and it progressively got steeper. By then, I could see Amy Sproston, one of the best American runners (Second Runner-Up Female in WSER 2013) only a few metres in front of me. I decided to slow down and follow her pace. A few minutes later, I spotted Emma Rocca, another legend of ultra-run, about 10 metres ahead of me. At that moment, I was glad to have covered the 5' difference with them and I decided to just try and follow their pace. As we gained altitude, the weather deteriorated and we were blasted with strong wind and rain. My body was soaked and I felt really cold. While Amy and Emma decided to slow down and stop to put on extra layers, I pushed on to finish the treacherous climb.

After 20', I found myself at the beginning of a lovely steep downhill without any technical challenge on my way. I took the advantage and rolled down as fast as I can. After running pretty fast and alone for what seemed like a long period of time, I heard someone’s breath from behind and turned to see Emma’s determined look as she came charging towards me to overtake me with a very confident pace. From this point on, I had one of my most exciting race experiences. I decided to follow her pace while we ran through a few terrain changes. At one point, it became extremely muddy and slippery where mud actually was coming up to above our knees. The organiser provided ropes in some of the more challenging parts, but it was still impossible to run in the mud. We were practically putting our foot down and pulling it up as we thread through the mud.

Emma did not seem to be bothered by the mud at all. Like a lioness, she fought determinedly through this challenging terrain and despite her wearing her "high heels" (HOKA), I could see that she was coping EXTREMELY WELL! I was really impressed with her determination and decided to emulate her crazy pace in the mud. Despite a few falls and the fact that mud was covering almost all my body by now, I was determined to stay behind her and not let her out of my sight. Thanks to her, we overtook more than 8 runners and we crossed the Finish Line with only a few seconds of difference.

At that moment, I did not have any idea of my position in the general classification, but I had a good feeling that I had performed well at that stage. By now, the weather has changed a lot and we were blessed with warm sunshine and amazing blue skies. There was also a beautiful lake just beside the camp for us to clean ourselves. The cold water from the lake was great for muscles recovery, not to mention the purification from the stubborn mud. I took a dive and swam for a bit to ease my tension before heading off to find some food.

Mud right above the knees!!

Laundry time :-)

If there is one thing the organiser did well at this race, it was the supply of food. I found an amazing variety and portions of good food prepared for us. There was fresh salad, fruits, pasta and delicious Argentine meat (barbecued), waiting to give us the best recovery and replenishment of calories after 4 hours of tough run.


The rest of the day was spent resting and preparing for the next stage. We finally received information of our results at around 20:00. I was glad to find out that I finished 2nd in my category and 11th in the total classification. I tried to get more information regarding the difference in time with the other runners in front/ behind of me and was assured by the staff/volunteers that they will only have this information after 21:00.

Like all the other stage-races I have run around the world, I was convinced that a briefing will take place later that night, to recap the day’s stage and to give us information about the following day’s stage. I waited until 22:00 and nothing seemed to be happening from the organiser’s side. Not wanting to waste anymore time in waiting, I went to the Information Tent and found out that there will be NO BRIEFING and NO INFORMATION ON DIFFERENCE IN TIME that night. Felling slightly upset, I returned to my tent and tried to focus on my plan for the next day, except that I had no idea at all on which runner I had to close my gap with!!

Although the organiser has stated in their ‘Rules’ that by 22:30, all runners are to retreat to their tents for rest and to remain silent, no one seemed to remember or bother with this rule. At 23:00, it felt like I was at a party where most of the runners were socialising and enjoying life! Thank God, my forever thoughtful wife has packed some ear-plugs for me and with that firmly pushed into my ears, I struggled before I managed to sleep just before midnight.

DAY 2 (18km & 700m ascent at the foot of the Osorno Volcano)

At 07:00 I was awoken by an announcement from the organiser informing us that due to bad weather conditions, the route for the day will be changed from the planned 31km to a shorter one of 20km! We were further informed that the start time will be announced later and in the meantime, we were ‘invited’ to ‘relax’.
Completely disappointed by this new turn of events, I came out from my tent and realised that the weather was exactly like the start of yesterday, not any worse. I was trying to understand what made the organiser took such a drastic decision, when nothing looked apparently so terrible to justify shortening the route so much. Knowing from my experience that I will not be getting any reliable answers from them, I decided to do as they have advised us, by relaxing while waiting for the next announcement which will tell us the start time of the race.

I ended up spending another 2 hours in my tent and hearing nothing. At 09:00, I decided to have my breakfast. Stepping out of my tent, I could see that the weather has improved significantly! Time was passing very slowly at the campsite and at 12:00, with blue skies and glorious sunshine (contradicting the organiser's decision) enveloping us, we were FINALLY told that the race for the day will start at 13:30. We were also informed that instead of climbing Osorno Volcano, we were to run an uphill path through some meadows and farms for about 9km and then to turn back and ran the same way!! Despite my total disappointment at this change of route, I prepared my rucksack and headed to the Start Line 15’ before the scheduled start time, to be in the first group of runners.

At 13:30, nothing at the Start Line looked like a race was about to start. Half the runners were standing under the blazing burning sun with me, waiting and raring to go, while the other half were still having their pasta under the main tent (!!!), preparing their rucksacks or socialising with other runners outside their tents!!!!

At 14:00, the situation remained the same and the clock continued ticking…

At 14:30, NOBODY knew if this damned race will ever start!!

FINALLY, at 14:45, the organiser gave the go-ahead for the race to start!!  By now, I have been waiting under the hot sun for about 2 hours, burned and scorched. Felling extremely fed up by this long wait, I started fast, trying to be as close as possible to the top ten runners. The pace was intense and the uphill was getting tougher as we ran on.

After 6km, I was already feeling exhausted. I checked my watch all the time to see the residual distance to the end of the ascent. Only 1km before that, Marco de Gasperi, the leader in the Male Solo was already coming down like a storm, chasing the Argentine Sergio Trecaman, who was in front of him by just a few metres. I experienced a rush of unforgettable moments of ‘high competition’ which inspired me and made me push a little bit harder against my tired limits.

Once I reached the end of the ascent, I did not spare any time to rest and continued to scramble down the hill as fast as I could. Following the rules of the organiser, I kept to the right side of the path to avoid colliding into runners coming from the opposite direction on their way up. While I was running at a very fast pace (3:45'/km) on the steep slope, I saw a woman runner coming from the opposite direction just a few metres ahead. She was overtaking another runner without looking at the ‘oncoming traffic’ and was therefore right smack in front of my face!! In trying to avoid a bad frontal collision, I managed to turn my body just in time and in the process, hit her with my shoulder and rucksack.

I was so angry and frustrated with this avoidable accident but at the same time, I reminded myself to remain calm and stay focused on the last few kms in order to maintain my position. A few minutes later, I crossed the Finish Line, feeling completely destroyed and exhausted. I made the decision to have my lunch as soon as possible to enable me to have a proper rest back in my tent.

However, the hot weather with temperatures climbing up to the 30 Celcius has transformed my tent into an over-heated oven, which made it impossible for me to stay inside. I had to wait and rest outdoors until around 19:00 when the temperature became cooler before it became bearable for me to return to it.

At around 21:00, I came out for my dinner and again tried to get more information regarding the results of the day from the organiser. This time, not only were they not able to provide us with our individual times, they were also not able to provide us with the overall ranking results!! For the first time in all the races I have competed in, I had not a single clue of the time difference between me and the other runners closest to me, those whom I was supposed to compete with!! This feeling of me merely ‘running’ without any ability to plan and strategise my performance was certainly not what I had in mind for when I entered any races, however big or small they may be. I do not just want to ‘run’ when I register myself for a race. I want to compete and challenge myself, to get inspired by other runners, to push myself against my limits. In order to do that, I need a ‘benchmark’ as a target. This benchmark will be the time difference, the gap between me and those runners closest to me at any race. Without this target, how am I to plan, to strategise, to push myself beyond my limits??  

After yesterday’s experience, I was certain that there will be no briefing on the schedule, so, I did not even bother to wait. I went to the water booth to get a bottle of water before retiring for the night, only to be given a 500ml bottle instead of a 1.5ltrs one (as promised by the organiser) and was told by the staff/volunteer that they were not able to give me more than 1 bottle because they were running low on supplies!! This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The accumulation of my frustration and anger from the past few days exploded the ‘Mediterranean’ way and I made it known to them sternly that I will not leave the booth until I get my daily ration. When they realised that I was serious in my threat, they finally gave in and let me have 2 bottles of the 500ml (instead of 3!!). 

Returning to my tent, I was so consumed by all the negative energy and disappointment which had overcome me to the extent that I was actually praying for the race to end as quickly as possible. In those moments of despair, all I could think of was all the bad things which had happened so far in the race. I could not have in a million years imagined that THE WORST was yet to come...I mean, what else could have happened  when we were so very near to the end of the race, right??? Well, read on...…

DAY 3 (25km & 1100m ascent of the Casablanca Volcano)

As I have mentioned before, no briefing or announcement was made to keep us informed about today’s race schedule (as expected). That was why I was so surprised when I was woken up at 06:00 by a noisy crowd standing outside their tents with their luggage already packed and ready to be delivered and transferred by the organiser to the Finish Line! I started to rush, trying to pack my stuff, wear my contact lenses and to get dressed in lightning speed. A long queue of about 500m was already formed (for drop-off of luggage) by the time I finished packing and I decided to go for breakfast first.

Once my bag was dropped off (after a long queue), I had to join another queue to board a bus which will transfer us to the Start Line of this final stage. This race has never stopped giving me surprises and even at this last stage, the organiser has proven once again how unreliable and incompetent they were! While I was waiting with the last group of about 25 runners, a volunteer came up to us and informed us that the bus which was supposed to transfer our group had broken down. He then assured us that they will provide another bus for us in 45'......and in meantime, we were told to relax (!!!!!) and to have something to drink. He also said, "Don't worry guys....the race will be shorter today...and the electronical devices which track your time will allow you to start at any time and still record your accurate timing."

To say that I was livid at this latest development will be an understatement. It is really difficult for me to express in words the mixed feelings of anger and disappointment which I was experiencing at that moment in time. You have to understand that while I was stranded with the last group of 25 runners there, the rest of the runners were already comfortably seated and on their way to the Start Line. This frustration, coupled with the fact that I had no idea of my position in the overall classification of the race and the fact that nobody bothered to inform us what distance we were to run on that day etc. was enough to bring me to a boiling point!!

While smoke was billowing out of my ears like one of those volcanoes which we were supposed to climb, I stood there evaluating the nightmare which awaits me when and IF I finally get to the Start Line at all!! Imagine having to start a race at the back of more than 1,000 runners on narrow paths, having to calculate and find some free space to overtake as many of them as possible to reach the front runners!! I was actually stunned to silence thinking about all this when my reverie was broken when I saw some runners in our group heading towards one of the organiser’s van.

Without any second thoughts, I followed them and found myself joining them in a dirty van which was enveloped with a strong smell of petrol, enough to choke you senseless. There were no seats at the back of the van either but nobody was complaining. None of us wanted to be left behind to wait for a (probably) non-existent bus!!

Not long after we set off, we found out that the driver was no more than a little boy who did not actually know how to get us to the Start Line!!!  The only positive energy that had got me going in those moments of despair was a kind soul in the form of Sean Clifford (an Irish super-cool dude living in France) and one of the strong competitors who has been running close to me during the previous 2 days. The fact that he was in the same trouble as I was facing somehow gave me a little consolation. He was also the only other English-speaking runner in our group and we immediately formed a bond where we could share our frustrations together.

After stopping a few times to ask the locals for directions, we were finally driven for about 2hs before we arrived at the Start Line. By that time, almost everyone had started the race and we were the very last group who had not. Without further delay, Sean and I headed to the Start Line and started together with one and only one strategy : TO RUN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE AND OVERTAKE THE HUNDREDS OF RUNNERS IN FRONT OF US.

Despite all the inconvenience and stress of having to see where we are running and at the same time, calculating the space and timing to overtake as many runners along the narrow paths as we can, our joint determination to maintain our (unknown) positions in the classification naturally devise an unspoken strategy between us. By our running pattern alone, we were able to motivate each other to push on and help one another by alternating the leading and pacing positions.

Start Point of Stage 3

Me and Sean (right) on our 'mission'

Once we reached the first summit, we were greeted by a spectacular 360 degrees view of mountains, lakes and snow-capped volcanoes. This magnificent spectacle was able to lift my spirits gradually. I felt all my anger and frustrations dissipating and I started to actually enjoy the race. How I would love to stop for just a few minutes to look around and to savour the view!! This scenic panorama was what I have been expecting and dreaming of for years and this was what made me register to run the El Cruce in the first place.

Feeling a little more motivated, Sean and I continued to overtake more runners and then, something magical actually happened after the string of unfortunate incidents which have befallen me since the start of the day!! We saw Amy and Emma just a few metres ahead of us!!! Despite our delayed start, we realised then that we had managed to cover the gap significantly with these 2 top runners and this was an indication of how fast we have been running so far.

Both of us were more than happy to follow Amazing Emma’s pace from then on. After a long downhill on the volcano's slope, we found ourselves in a tropical forest with extremely muddy and slippery path, just like the first stage. Emma was doing an amazing job (as usual), pushing as hard as she could, and Sean and I followed her pace. The most ridiculous thing was that all of us were running without knowing the distance we were supposed to be covering for that day!! Even Emma was completely unaware of it. However, a few minutes later, we were informed by a volunteer who was standing in a critical slippery part of the path that we had only 8km to go before the Finish Line. This newly-acquired piece of precious information gave a boost to our pace and we carried on "rolling" down the slippery-muddy paths with dangerous trees blocking our route.

My sudden euphoria was unfortunately marred by my discovery of the fact that the laces on my left shoe has become undone. Due to the demanding terrain with so much instability and the risk of getting an injury if I did not fix the laces, I stopped for about 30'' to attend to the problem. When I continued with my run again, I was all alone. By now, both Emma and Sean were completely out of my vision.

I checked my watch and knew that I was very close to the Finish Line. I continued to just run without pushing myself to the maximum. In addition to the 30” spent fixing my laces, I lost another 10" stopping to take out my flag. I finally crossed the Finish Line 2' later than Emma and Sean.

I found out much later after the race (for the organiser did not even have any of this information at the Finish Line!!) that I have lost a position for a mere 13" to none other than my Irish friend, Sean!!! My final classification at the race was 2nd in my Age Category and 13th among the 1094 runners who had completed the race in all 3 stages.

The top 3 Male & Female winners 
I was happy with my performance because I have achieved my original ambition to finish close among the top 10 runners. I was only 4' behind the runner who finished 10th. I am certain that my final classification would definitely have been different if I had known on a daily basis of my position among the other runners and if I had not have to start behind more than 1,000 runners on the last day.

El Cruce 2014 could have been a more exciting race in terms of competition for all of us, if the organiser had kept us informed of our daily results and times, which they, unfortunately failed to do so. I was later informed that they had posted the daily results on their website after each stage and everyone else (except the runners) was able to find out about our performance over the internet!! This was the most ridiculous aspect of the race management, amongst others, of course! 

In summary, I will say that El Cruce has the potential of being one of the most exciting races in the world if the organiser knows how to handle their tasks properly. Unfortunately, in this past edition, they were completely unprepared to deal with all the challenges which come with an event of this magnitude. I accept the fact that unexpected changes will have to be made due to probable extreme weather conditions and I am not even touching on these areas when I say the race has been badly managed this year. Issues reflecting the bad/disorganised/chaotic management of the organiser (all non-bad-weather-related) which need serious attention are as follows :-

1) There was never any BRIEFING to give the runners essential information regarding the race on the following day. Information about climbs and terrains are important to help runners make decisions on their strategy for the race, whether to use poles and gaiters and what kind of shoes to wear.

2) There was never any fixed SCHEDULE. We had no prior knowledge of the exact time the race will start the following day. Even when a start time was fixed, it was never honoured. There was no respect for punctuality in this race.

3) There was no daily RESULT informed to the runners at the campsite.

4)  There was no enforcement of the supposedly imposed TIME CURFEW, which is 22:30. This can cause nuisance to runners who seriously need to sleep to replenish their energy for the following day.

5) Insufficient AID STATIONS.

6) Information desks with NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING staff/volunteers. The organiser was very proud and loud in their media announcement of a record high number of international registrations (this edition supposedly had registrations from over 30 countries). However, if you do not speak Spanish, you will have a nightmarish experience trying to get any information (if at all) from them. As a last proof of how unprofessional they have been in handling the race, they have put flags of countries with no participation in this year’s edition on their official logo while the flags of Greece and Ireland (mine and Sean’s) were left out!!!

It is not difficult at all to find a good race to run and compete these days. There are many experienced people who know how to organise their races efficiently. They know and accept their limits. They limit the number of runners they can accept in order for the race to run smoothly. They plan, make decisions, fix schedule, rules, regulations and stick to them. As you can see from my Blog, I have never posted any negative reviews of any of the previous races I have participated in so far. My wife told me not to be so brutal in my review for this one but I say I have to be honest. I have to say what I mean and feel and not be afraid to tell others what I have truly experienced, lest they be misguided and seduced by all the untrue declarations and advertisements!

So, in a nutshell, El Cruce certainly does not deserve the USD820 registration fees which they ask for from foreign participants. This, plus the high costs of travelling to Chile and from Argentina (air tickets, ground transportation and hotels) does not equal the experience and the memories you will take away with you after the 3-day race. I could have spent this amount of money on a better race somewhere else.

In closing this post, I will like to thank my lovely wife, Hannis, who has had to endure much discomfort during the 3 days she spent 'chasing' after me and the other runners. Due to some misunderstanding caused by language problem, her luggage did not travel with her during the 3 days she was on the move with the other reporters/journalists/photographers of the Media Team. She had to 'rough it out' and survived without change of clothes/toiletries etc. I must admit she is a real tough cookie and her transformation from a high-living city girl to an adventurous-outdoor-bohemian chick really amazes me, even now! Thanks, Love, for your loyal support and your ability to laugh at difficult times and dismiss them as trivial, as you always do. Here is a photo of us together to end this journey, and until my next posting, Hasta La Vista, Amigos!!

Photo Credit : Sean Clifford (my cool Irish friend!) 


  1. Hy Argy. Your Blog is espectacular. Totally agree with your article, my experience was almost identical to yours, and even had other serious drawbacks in terms of organization. I wrote to Mr. Tagle, owner of the race, with all these complaints, but obviously had no response from anyone. Very sad. So I think it appropriate, to distribute this information to all runners, so they know about el Cruce de los Andes organization. Un fuerte abrazo. Guillermo. / William Ussher

  2. Hi Guillermo! I'm so sorry that you experienced same kind of frustrations. Total disappointment! I'm not surprised at all that nobody answered to your complaints! These guys don't know anything about races and how to be a serious organiser. Hope to see you again and run another race together in your AMAZING country!!! Take care mate!

  3. Buenas tardes, fui parte de esa organizacion a la cual por suerte ya no pertenezco mas, es increible que despues de 13 ediciones todavia haya gente que la quiera seguir corriendo, hay otras carreras que tienen la misma modalidad pero con otra organozacion, saludos y me apena que el director de la carrera sea argentino....

  4. Hi Argyrios, first, as an argentinian I feel very, very sorry about how things happened. I've to say that we're a bit used to this type of organizations. Anyway, thanks for telling us your sincere experience. I enjoyed the way you feel your competitions.
    Sorry my poor english.
    Best regards
    Cristian M

  5. Gracias queridos por compartir la misma opinión y pensamientos. Creo que la mayoría de la gente va a divertirse y no se molestan si la organización no es perfecto. Es por eso que mi consejo es claro ... SI ERES UN CORREDOR SERIO .... nunca consideran esta carrera!

  6. Thanks for your message Cristian !
    I have been so impressed by the NICE ARGENTINIAN people met in this adventure.Thanks to this, I tried to ignore all the bad things and keep only beautiful memories from your lovely country!

  7. Hi

    As a brit I understand your frustrations but after 8 years of living in Argentina, understanding the culture.. I see things from both sides. Culturally Argentines in general want to be part of a team and winning yes is great but the experience is far greater than the reward.. something we can all learn from.. so things that may seem important to you are not important to them and vice versa.. I did this race in 2007, its the best organised race in Argentina, no not perfect, but its an adventure.. a challenge and an opportunity to test your limits in a different way...

    Sorry you didnt have any Argentines to help you along the way to get information, in general they are very obliging and helpful..

    And I totally agree with you about socialising "late" at night. In general Argentines dont eat until after 2200 so lights out and quiet in camp is impossible...

    Sorry it didnt go the way you had hoped... but this race is all about taking part and taking in the breathtaking scenery.... Enjoy it!!!

    1. Sam,

      Thanks for your comment! I definitely agree with you on the Argentine's cultural aspect which you have mentioned and I totally understand what you mean. Coming from a Mediterranean country myself, the attitude, mentality and lifestyle of us Greeks are very similar to our ''brothers'' from Argentina.

      That is why I was very clear from the beginning of my post that El Cruce will be the right choice for those who are not looking to compete seriously in a race and who are merely seeking to take part in a run with party-like atmosphere afterwards. All for the sake of experience, like you have said.

      Unfortunately, this was not for me and many other runners who are trying to get the best out of themselves from a competitive race and fighting for a good position in the overall classification. Many of us have put in many hours of training before participating and it was therefore frustrating for us when things were not handled professionally by the organisers.

      Many of us have paid a lot of money to be at the race and to participate in it. It is therefore simply not worth it and not enough for us to derive satisfaction from only the breathtaking scenery of the course or to test our limits in any other different way not related to a race. This was certainly not why I have signed up for El Cruce in the very first place.

      This, of course is just my personal way of thinking and judging from my communication with some other serious runners at the race and the messages I have received (and from the comments herein on my Blog), I know that many others do share the same view.

  8. Hi! I have friends who had run El Cruce and said exactly the same. What a pity! I recommend you Patagonia Run 100k. I had run it 3 times ( 10k, 21k, 42k) . The organization is very good. Regards. Indiana

    1. Thanks Indiana, for your suggestion.
      We fell in love with Argentina and we will be back for a better race soon.
      Patagonia Run 100k looks interesting and their website is more serious from El Cruce. Positive signs ;-)

  9. Love your race report. Wondering how long one would have to train for the event? Did you have a particular training plan that you followed?

    1. Thanks for reading, Molly!! The length of time to train for such an event will depend mainly on the individual's running background. The only plan I did then was one long run (3 hours) and one interval training per week. Hope that helps :-)