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Living in Guatemala – School for Athletes in Antigua Guatemala – It is Free!

school for athlete in antigua guatemala - living in guatemala
The whole group having a snack after a training session.

Working out is one of the activities I have enjoyed for a long time. It makes me feel great. Bue even like that I never took it as a serious thing. I simply enjoyed my time at the gym at that was it.

How I Got into Running

But then in august 2014 my brother finally convinced me to go on a trail run. There was a family type category for 5k so I decided to try that one. It toke me 52 minutes to complete the circuit and it was tough but I ended up loving it. So I started using the treadmill at the gym a little more and going out on Sunday jogs. It was never a matter of getting fit and skinny. This was just something I really enjoyed and happened to coincide with the date when I discovered my love for ascending volcanoes.

Once more I got talked into enrolling for another race that was going to happen on may 2015, this time by a friend. This time it was a half marathon. I was by no means ready for it but I did it. I ran along her side for the whole thing and we finally made it to the finish line after 2:35 hours. We were both o proud of each other and completely beat.

Joining EFAAG

(EFAAG means: School for Athletes, Antigua Guatemala)

A few months later someone spoke to me about a group that met at the track of a public school near my home at the time in Antigua Guatemala. They told me that it was a group of people of all levels who love running, some even compete an win. So I decided to check out ne of their training sessions. I sat on a bench and thought “that doesn’t look too hard” so I asked the guy who was giving all of the instructions how much he was charging.

Time for some Stretching

He introduced himself as Rafael Morales and asked me a few questions about my back ground. That lead to a 15 minute chat. During that time I kept thinking, this guy seems really knowledgeable, plus some of the athletes look so professional, this is going to be expensive.

Then he said. “Look I do this for free but the school asks for a small fee so that they can maintain the track in decent condition so I ask for Q10 (USD 1.50) monthly.” Are you surprised? I was!

I joined the group and met a lot of people with all sorts of different backgrounds and ages. With time I learned that back when he was an athlete, Teacher Rafa (as we call him) even made it into the small group of track runners who made it into the 1980 Olympics in Russia, he then studied to become a coach and has now a masters degree in it.

Can you believe it? Now in his 50’s he dedicates his time to teach us how to properly run to avoid injuries and ho to get ready for competing.

Plus the training sessions at the track with him are KILLER. You really need to build up your strength to be able to endure a full one.

Yearly event where we race al each other.

Months later my brother joined too, he is into triathlon so he gave him a specialized plan.

Fast forward to 2017 due to politics of the school we are now paying Q30 each month (USD4) which we all do happily.

My brother has improved so much that he even made it into the top three on his last triathlon. In my case, now I am able to run 5k on 28 minutes. I’m not at a competitive level at all, I don’t dedicate fully to it because of my love for hiking but am loving how strong I feel and will keep attending his sessions.

This is just a quick shout out to an outstanding person who donates his time and knowledge just because he loves the sport and helping people. He truly is an inspiration for each member of his group. We are all extremely grateful for what he does.

Even though I still go to the training sessions and run at leas 3 times per week, it has been a while since I’ve enrolled on a race. May be I should soon.

I with I had more and better photos but when we get to the track we are usually focused on giving all we have until the next sprint comes.

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