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Runners Take DC 2 Mexico City Challenge

Running a half marathon? Piece of cake.

Running a half marathon on back-to-backs days? Now you’re talking about stepping outside your comfort zone.

Running a half marathon on back-to-back days, in different countries, the cities 1,883 miles apart? That falls under Bucket List items, a physical, logistical and Am-I-Sane? challenge.

On a spring morning in Washington D.C., 59 runners took on the first leg of the Capital City Challenge, running the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC ½ Marathon on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Then they hopped aboard a direct flight Saturday night or early Sunday morning to run the second leg of the double-header, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mexico City Half Marathon on March 15, 2015.

The Capital City Challenge theme: 2 Countries 2 Days 1 “Loco” Adventure.

Making the double a bit more manageable, the Mexico City 13.1-miler is at night.

“It’s a challenge,” said Mariana Noli, an attorney who was born in Argentina but now lives in San Diego. “That’s very attractive to me because I like to push myself.”

DC 2 Mexico City Challenge

Leah Reid, a Vancouver, British Columbia, accountant, dropped the challenge angle as one of her motivations, too, but adds, “The closer I got to the races the more I thought I might be crazy.”

As if the running and traveling isn’t challenging enough, Mother Nature was projected to toss some hurdles at the Fab 59. Rain was in the forecast for D.C. and Mexico City. If the runners feel a little out of breath in the capital of Mexico, fatigue may not be the only factor.

Mexico City’s elevation: 7,382 feet.

“Don’t remind me,” said Reid, who trains at sea level.

Noli and Reid were cruising about the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Health and Fitness Expo on Friday morning, light on their feet despite some heavy travel. Noli touched down in the morning after a red-eye West Coast flight. Her flight delayed, Reid didn’t arrive in the U.S. capital until 2 a.m.

“I was nervous,” said Noli, 35, “which was a good sign.”

Noli’s running resume includes at least 30 halves and three marathons, the 26.2-milers all ran last year. Her half PR is 1:54, but her eye wasn’t on the clock for either race that weekend.

“I just wanted to run the whole way and finish, and I’d be proud,” she said.

Reid, 36, hangs her medals in her office. She started a running group at work and genuinely displays excitement knowing she’s paying her passion forward.

“I love running,” offers Reid. “It’s who I am now.”

To Noli, running is a metaphor for life.

“I see the half marathon, any race, like life,” she says. “Just keep moving forward. There’s going to be obstacles. Things not planned are going to happen along the way. Just as long as you keep moving at a steady pace.

“The strength that it takes running is what it takes in life to succeed.”

The adventurous 59 who took part in the Capital City Challenge received nice perks too: social get-togethers in both cities, special bibs, commemorative medals, glow sticks and Lucha Libre wrestling masks.

They were also treated to something they were sure to desire: free massages.