Run your city // In Colombia with 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 the Ultra-Trail Harricana where I was going to do 80 km in trail. I was ready, but I wanted to bulk up and acclimatize to the heat, because the UTHC this year was going to be very hot. 

Briefly tell me about your trip.

After landing in Bogota, we took every opportunity to race. While waiting for the bus, we knew we had 2 hours free, we took our valuables, we put them in our little ones fast pack and we toured the city on the run.

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

Then we went to Minca at about 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 course proposed by Strava. So we left for a 42 km on trail, in a mix of jungle and city passing through incredible villages.

We leave with Dalma, the hotel's Dalmatian dog. He's not bad, my highlight! People stopped to come see him and give us advice for our safety.

Our first 5 kilometers took us literally 1 hour. 

It was the race where I was most stressed, because I didn't know what to expect. Sometimes we couldn't see a way. In the end, it went really well. It's always unsettling to run in a new city. To have challenged our greatest fears, to have pushed back our limits. You come out of this adventure and you discover another person in you.

Is it a good city for running?

This is not the ideal place. I imagine 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 is self-discovery. Without necessarily stepping out of my comfort zone, I always discover something about myself. Even in consistency, it's the act of running that always brings me one step closer to the athlete and the person I want to become. 

Running brings me a balance in life that makes me feel good. Having the best possible mental health in relation to all spheres 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.