Adriana Gomez Nunez was hoping for a warm beach vacation when her partner, Marcelo Rojas-Decut, suggested a trip from Paraguay to the United States this summer.
Instead, she settled for running a marathon on a cool Minnesota day.
The couple completed the Med City Marathon on Sunday. Nunez had a faster finish time, winning bragging rights between the two.
Neither has friends or connections to Minnesota. Rojas-Decut’s son is studying at the University of Kansas. He planned to visit the U.S. to see him, and looked for a convenient marathon to run while he was here.
“I always try to take advantage of every trip,” Rojas-Decut said.
How did a race in Rochester finish first for the most convenient event?
Rojas-Decut had three to choose from that worked with his travel schedule: a marathon in New York state and another in rural Wisconsin. The New York race featured a short course marathoners would have to loop around about 10 times to rack up 26.2 miles.
“That would be boring,” he said.
The Wisconsin one was remote, and the couple is traveling by bus or plane during their trip.
“It had to be somewhere to get to without a problem,” Rojas-Decut said. “(Med City Marathon) was the only one that fit.”
Rojas-Decut, originally from Argentina, met Nunez in Paraguay through running and racing. Each has run more than half a dozen marathons, including a few together. He complimented event organizers and volunteers for a “well-organized” race.
25 years ... or 26?
This year was the 25th Med City Marathon after last year’s event was moved virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Twenty-sixth,” Nels Pierson said, correcting race announcer Jerry MacNeil. “I physically ran it last year.”
Pierson has run in every Med City Marathon so far. He counts last year’s virtual race as one of them. Runners who registered last year for the event were invited to submit their times.
“I got a T-shirt, too,” he said.
Pierson ran the 26.2 miles on the Douglas Trail at 3 a.m., finishing the effort just as the sun was rising, he said. He continued his regular routine of training and conditioning last year. Actually running the marathon was a bit more spontaneous.
“You know how sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, and you know you’re not getting back to sleep?” he said. “I decided then was a good time to do it.”
On that mid-September night, he took off. The trail was darker than he expected, which he said helped him regulate his pace early in the run.
Pierson was one of six runners going into this year’s event who have run every year since it was established in 1996.
He plans to keep that streak going next year.
Rojas-Decut and Nunez aren't as sure.
"Maybe, if it works out again," Rojas-Decut. "It certainly was fun here."