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Run your city // In Colombia with Emmanuelle-Salambo Deguara

Cours ta ville // En Colombie avec Emmanuelle-Salambo Deguara

- Photos by Samuel Charlebois

Run your city // In Colombia with Emmanuelle-Salambo Deguara

What brought you to this city?

My boyfriend and I have always been interested in South America, the warm, colorful, historical side, getting out of our daily lives. In Colombia, we could discover the jungle, the sea, the altitude and prepare for the Harricana Ultra-Trail where I was going to do 80 km on a trail. I was ready, but I wanted to accumulate volume and acclimatize to the heat, because UTHC this year was going to be very hot.

Tell me briefly about your trip.

After landing in Bogota, we took every opportunity to run. While waiting for the bus, we knew we had 2 hours free, we took our valuables, put them in our little fastpacks and visited the city on a run.

We then headed towards the El Cocuy National Park to go to altitude. The cold brought us back to Cartagena , a medieval city, close to water and warmth, but still at altitude. We did the El Pulpito del Diablo Summit (18km at 4900m altitude). At altitude, it's much more of hiking uphill and jogging downhill.

Then, we went to Minca at around 700m altitude. It was the jungle, a humid climate, very hot, in super dense vegetation, beautiful trail roads, natural waterfalls.
Finally, we ended our trip in the Tayrona National Park in tourist trail mode with swimming stops.

What is your favorite route?

Definitely the loop from Finca to Minca on a route proposed by Strava. So we set off for a 42 km trail , in a mix of jungle and city, passing through incredible villages.

We leave with Dalma, the hotel's Dalmatian dog. He’s definitely my highlight! People stopped to come see him and give us advice for our safety.

Our first 5 kilometers took us literally 1 hour.
This was the race where I was the most stressed, because I didn't know what to expect. Sometimes we no longer saw a path. In the end, it went really well. It's always unsettling to run in a new city. For having challenged our greatest fears, for having pushed our limits. You come out of this adventure and you discover another person in yourself.

Is it a good city for running?

This is not the ideal place. I guess people who travel to run want to be safe and let go. It's a place for discovery and getting out of your comfort zone, but not the safest for running.

Fun fact

If you want to connect with Colombians, tell them about Pablo Escobar. Everyone is happy to talk about him. Even in taxis, there are books about him.

What makes you run?

It's self-discovery. Without necessarily leaving my comfort zone, I always discover something about myself. Even with consistency, it is the act of running that always brings me one step closer to the athlete and person I want to become.
Running gives me a balance in my life that makes me feel good. Having the best mental health possible in connection with all areas of my life, running always brings me back to that.
Through these adventures, my limits are redefined. What I think I can do is constantly changing. In the end, it can be impressive what we can achieve.