Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sugar Loaf Kids Race - São Paulo

Yesterday was the Pão de Açucar Kids Race. At least once a year (and I somehow think it's twice a year), the supermarket giant runs this race for ages 2-12 at an old forgotten track & field stadium. My kids did their first race in 2009 at the age of 2 1/2. They ran holding hands with my husband.  The 50- meter race was difficult to watch as several of the toddler competitors tripped or crashed into each other and hit the turf.

Two years ago was the last time they ran.  Because there are so many kids, they have many different heats. One of my sons ran the fastest of the heat and for a year he told everyone he had won the entire division of 4 1/2 year olds. I didn't let him know that he was 125th of 250 kids in the age group. If I were defensive about this, I would mention that my kids are born in November and there are kids there born in January. At this age, 11 months makes a pretty big difference. Probably more of a difference than gender--and they do split the races girls versus boys. Since I am not defensive about this, I would say he did just fine.

The entrance fee starts as $50 reais (around $25USD) and goes up the closer it gets to race day. So unless the race organizer sponsors less fortunate kids, this is a race for the middle class and above (minimum salary in Brazil is near $350USD monthly). For the entrance fee, the kids got a long-sleeved t-shirt that I had to pin up the orangutan sleeves with safety pins, a small backpack and some snacks. We also got a number for his shirt and a number for our shirts--to show that the little runner "belonged" to us so we could pick him up at the finish line.

The race was delayed and the kids had to wait more than an hour to run. But it was very well-organized and when they finally took off down the lanes, they were excited and happy. At the finish line, they got an apple, a medal and an escort to numbered chutes where their parents were waiting at the end. Is this normal for US kids races? I don't know. Maybe we are more sensitive to criminal minds here in Brazil--there was really no chance someone was going to steal our kids.

Especially because I ran into a military policeman that I know from a security presentation at their school. He was there for pleasure--he was also picking up his kid at the finish line chute. Which just proves what a small world São Paulo is. The population is 17 million, the kids' race has several thousand runners--but at the finish line chute for race numbers ending in "8", I ran into someone I know.

Bring on the next race!

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