How to Run a Half Marathon In Nicaragua (or how not to)

Step 1: Sign up 12 days before the race day.

Step 2: Start training 11 days before the race day.

Step 3: Get sick 5 days before the race day.

Step 4: Spend 15 hours getting to the hostel the day before the race.

Step 5: Do not adequately hydrate.

Step 6: Try to sleep in an unfamiliar place the night before the race.

Step 7: Get up at 5 in the morning, eat only some fruit and two pieces of white bread for breakfast.

Step 8: Get on a bus for an hour with nothing but your clothes and your room key.

Step 9: Run 13.1 miles.

Step 10: Underestimate the amount of water loss and fail to properly rehydrate.

Step 11: Spend 8 hours on 4 different buses, 3 hours of which are standing up in the aisle, traveling towards home.

Step 12: Get stuck 3 hours away from your house and sleep in a hammock.

Step 13: Get up at 5 and travel for 2 hours to begin your work day without stopping home.

Step 14: Plan for and teach 4.5 hours of English class.

Step 15: Sink into bed exhausted, finally re-hydrated, and feeling good about life and adventures.


This was how I ended up running my first ever half marathon last weekend. I don’t recommend doing the dumb things that I did, but I do recommend the rest. It was worth all the traveling and lost sleep to meet new volunteers (one of which a fellow Carleton grad!), be able to say I ran a half marathon, and practice being patient and resourceful in the face of unexpected turns of events. I ran much better than I anticipated I would, especially considering how little training I had done, how poorly I slept and prepared, and how little time had passed since I was sick. I ran the race in 1:38:51 (about 7:40 miles). I’d love to run another someday after having trained properly to see how I can do. I hear there’s a full marathon nearby in May…

I posted some new videos that you can check out:

Hiking up Maderas Volcano

A collection of ant videos I have taken here


And I’ve added some pictures to my photo album


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindy Salo on March 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm


    This is great! It’s a good story & you tell it well. I felt as though I was there.



  2. Posted by Jon BoddySpargo on March 14, 2011 at 2:18 am

    If you had two pieces of WHITE bread, you should’ve been good to go! 🙂
    I love you Andrew and think about you a lot. And I love reading these stories!
    Keep ’em coming bro. Ttys.


    • LOL, yeah, you’re probably right. If I wanted to run faster, I could have just eaten more of it! Love you, man. I’m calling you soon!


  3. Can you post some information about the race? I would like to do a half marathon in Nica but can’t find one.


    • The half that I wrote about was from Jinotega to San Rafael del Norte and I signed up by emailing a Peace Corps Volunteer who lived in SRdelN. I’m afraid that I don’t have any more specific information regarding current races. Hope you find some!


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