Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

If you stay in Rio de Janeiro, chance is that you will pick a hotel near the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, in the South part of this large city (6 millions in the city and about 13.5 in the metropolitan area). Rio has been the capital of Brazil for 2 centuries but lost this status to Brasilia in 1960 when this new city was built in a more central location for this large country (5th largest area after Russia, Antarctica, Canada, United States and China).

Anyway, a few hours after landing, I went for a run, I didn't want to go too far before getting acquainted with the city (you hear so much about the bad reputation of "the favellas" but, meaning neighborhoods, there are favellas everywhere on the map and not all are bad fortunately!).

The taxi driver showed me the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon on our way to the hotel and that seemed like a great place to run. Here is a view of some of the many hills of Rio, and the lagoon, from Tijuca National Park (see my next post...):
At least I could see from the car a bike path on one side and was excited to find out if it went all around. Indeed, it does and for quite a distance, much more than what I expected. The distance is marked every 200 meters (1/8th of a mile) and, as I was running, I started to see the number going up, and up, and...
The whole lap is just short of 7,500 meters (4.6 miles). I did the first one at 6:31 min/mile, a pace I was able to maintain for 20 miles thanks to the excitement of catching up with some slower bikers and skaters!
On weekends the bike path gets very busy with many walkers, joggers, runners, bikers, rollerbladers, skaters, quadricyclists and it requires quite some attention to slalom between people going at very different speeds. The same skills required to drive in Brazil anyway! ;-)

When it's not too cloudy, there are great views of the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado mountain, as well as closer hills such as the Morro do Cantagalo, Morros dos Cabritos and the nearby National Park of Tijuca.
While I didn't spot any public restrooms, there are many booths selling fresh coconut juice which is one of the best natural electrolyte. These represent convenient aid stations to remain hydrated!
Overall, a great/perfect urban course for a flat and fast long run!

As an alternative, especially if you are staying in Copacabana, you can run along the beach, on the bike path. There is also a bike path along the beaches of Ipanema (below) and Leblon which get quite busy on weekends too.
And, if you can't make it to Rio this time, feel free to continue the virtual visit in my Picasa album!

1 comment:

Jones Bao said...

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