Quito is a city with a long running tradition, from the chasquis, the running messengers of the Incan Empire, to the modern day enthusiasts who enjoy running through the beauty of the UNESCO Heritage town and the stunning trails of its surroundings. Quito is also host to some celebrated running races.
For the uninitiated, running a race in Quito can be quite the challenge. All races in the city share one very special component – the altitude. You are running at 2,800 meters above sea level (9,186 feet). If you are not used to such altitude, the strategy for your race will be interesting. Add to that the route through the city and you are bound to have an amazing experience.
Below, we list some of the most famous running races in Quito. If you are new to Quito or running at altitude, be sure to prepare properly for the events. Check out our running tours and trails, in which I’ll show you the best places to run in and around Quito, and how to do it at that altitude.
Date: June 2020
Las Ultimas Noticias is definitely the most iconic and traditional of the big races in Quito. Many professional local and international runners have raced and won it. It starts in the southern part of the city at the offices of El Comercio, one of Quito’s top newspapers, passes the bottom of El Panecillo – in the colonial part of town – and finishes in Estadio Atahualpa, one of the city’s main stadiums.
The event’s first edition took place on February 28, 1960 and was called Maratón de los Barrios Quiteños (Marathon of the Quitenian Neighborhoods). It was almost 7 kilometers long (I guess we didn’t have a very good grasp yet on what a marathon meant). With time, it increased in distance and its name changed to Ultimas Noticias 15k. By entering this race you also participate in a raffle for a car. The race has both 5k and 15k distances, and it’s free for people with special capabilities.
Again, if you’re in town a few days prior to the race, please contact me and I can take you on some runs to get used to the altitude of the mighty Andes that surround Quito.
Ruta de las Iglesias
Date: August 2020
The Ruta de las Iglesias is a one of a kind race in Ecuador. In its 15th edition (2019) it summoned 15,000 athletes, both local and foreign. It takes place in the Colonial Centre of Quito, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 for being one of the most extensive and best preserved centres in Latin America.
You will run by the stunning architecture of churches such as La Compañía, Santo Domingo and San Francisco. To make it even better, it takes place at night and you will certainly find some live music on the way! You get to see the churches and other buildings lit up in spectacular ways. You will get a different perspective on this part of the city. The race hosts a category for athletes with special capabilities. Also included in the registration fee is a donation to the Fundación Olimpiadas Especiales.
It’s worth noting that the Ruta de las Iglesias is a member of AIMS (Association of Marathons and Distance Races). You can even win some money as part of the prize if you finish in the top ten (1st place gets 2,000 US dollars)! The route of this race is very similar to our Quito Church Run. So if you’re racing this amazing event and have the time, come a few days before and I will be glad to take you on a tour of part of the course so you know what to expect. I will take you out for a beer after the race too!
Date: November 24, 2019
Quito’s Liga 10k is the third biggest running race in Ecuador, with 8,000 runners for the 2019 edition. It was born 10 years thanks to the efforts of fans and board members of Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, a very successful and traditional Quitenian soccer team.
The race begins in the modern part of Quito, at the Ministry of Agriculture and finishes at the soccer team’s own stadium, Estadio Rodrigo Paz.
So there you have it! Three races you can do in Quito. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Go! Running Tours Quito if you’re in town for these events or any other running events (I’m big into trail running as well and we have a lot of that). I’ll be glad to help you out with anything you need in preparation for the race or any recommendations for activities in Quito.