Running in Oaxaca is always a rewarding experience and by far the best way to start your day. Indeed, in this city you don’t run just because you need to exercise, you run to take out your guilt of all the good food you ate yesterday, and the meals you’ve already added to your wish-list for today. You run to experience this city that always provides you surprises along the way. You don’t run to beat your Strava because the route will never be the same. You may want to stop at some point to take a picture or because the stray dog that decided to follow you on this day is now being chased by a pack of dogs so you may feel the urge to sprint too…
Oaxaca is definitely a place for adventurers, filled with open-minded and curious runners who want to experience more than perform. Check out our running tours for runs that cater to everyone. Once you start running in Oaxaca you are trapped in that game for several reasons:
First of all, you will never have an excuse to NOT run. The weather is as constant as Kipchoge strides and you will experience the perfect temperature from 7 to 9 am and never have to worry about the rain as it´s only raining at the end of the afternoon during the rainy season (June to September).
Then, in the morning, the city is waking up and it´s a blessing being part of it, observing the small events that mark the beat of life all along the year. A group of nuns speeding to arrive on time at the 7 am mass, pupils from primary schools taking their graduation picture dressed and proud as if they finished Harvard University, a wave of walking or biking pilgrims honoring the Virgin of La Soledad after a week-long journey, some surviving candles at dawn of Day of the Dead, … All the details are the one I’m thinking about and motivating me as I’m biking to downtown in order to start my run.
Finally, a bit like the Yin needs the Yan, Batman needs The Joker or Sheldon needs Peggy, local food and exercising are two extremes that need and feed each other. You will eat (too much) because you ran and you will run because you ate (too much) and once you are in this vicious circle it´s pretty hard to escape. Indeed, the local food is so good and diversified that saying “today I will eat only salads” is just a mean lie you´re telling yourself. With restaurants opened all day long, countless street food carts you will not resist a whole day. There is even a local concept resumed in the word “antojo” that is just an urging need of eating a specific dish that can appear anytime, anywhere. “Tengo antojo de unos tacos” is like a Damocles sword hanging above you and you never know when the antojo will strike you… So, you understand better now why you need to run here: in order to welcome this “antojos” and embrace them thinking that tomorrow running an extra mile will make disappear this excess of food. BUT running an extra mile will make you extra hungry and on the route, you may discover a new place to eat leading you to new antojos! I tell you as an Ultra-trail runner it´s an endless story.
Sight–running Tours in Oaxaca
The historic center of Oaxaca is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and walking on the main pedestrian street of this colonial and colorful city will leave you the best impressions. If you want to discover not only the touristic side but also the daily life of its inhabitants, a patchwork of descendants of pre-Hispanic culture with their traditional clothes, traditions and even still spoken native languages as Zapotek or Mixtec, you will need to go out of the center to some peripherical neighborhoods. To achieve that, it´s best to be guided by a local runner into the maze of narrow streets of popular neighborhoods.
Oaxaca Must See – Must Eat Tour – 8 km
The perfect tour for those who want to experience the most iconic locations and try the most savory of food that Oaxaca has to offer while exercising a bit.
Oaxaca Must See – Must Eat Tour – 14 km
If you want to discover the city and like to be challenged we can go on a longer run so you will discover the entire diversity of the city.
Oaxaca Trail Running Tour – 17 km
Oaxaca is nestled in the middle of some amazing scenery, surrounded by mountains which tower above 3,000 m. Runners who love trail-running will enjoy this route with good climbs and great views of the city, running to the tops of three different hills.
Oaxaca Running Races
Running is very popular in Oaxaca and nearly every Sunday you may find a 5km or 10km race along downtown streets. Unfortunately for longer distances we are more limited with only 2 half-marathon, the most famous being the Rock’n Roll Half Marathon.
The true spirit of Oaxaca races will be found outside the city, into the high and steep mountains that surround it. Indeed the trail-running tradition is millennial here and some fine international champions come from small villages such as Ricardo Mejía, world champion in 2006.
The most famous and challenging races are usually held in small villages where the whole community is working all year long to organize the best race in a very pleasant ambient. For example, Ultra Trail Sierra Mixe, UTC – Ultra Trail la Carroñera and Tepeztate Trail are events that are growing more and more every year and allow you to share good moments into this welcoming traditional communities. Then the Trail de la Mixteca is by far the most notorious race in Oaxaca, organized by Ricardo Mejia himself it permits the winners to travel and participate to several races in Europe.
If you are an adventurer the Ultra Festival is made for you where during 5 days athletes from over the world compete on the 200 Millas de Mexico or the duathlon Ultra Trail Bike.
Then nearly every weekend you will find local trail running races in different parts of Oaxaca. For a complete list of races, check out our 2019 running races post here.
Oaxaca Running Routes
The center of Oaxaca is very enjoyable to run in the morning with very few traffic and wide streets only for yourself. If you want to train more properly, the stadium Venustiano Carranza is just a few blocks from the center and count with an official running track and another one that goes all around the installations with several bridges.
In the afternoon all runners gather to the El Llano park, where the big trees provide a nice and fresh shadow.
For longer distance, you can go on a 10 km run on the cycling lane that goes from an Oaxaca City to the charming village of El Tule place of the gigantic “Tule Tree”.
Several athletic clubs are present in Oaxaca and are really focused on athletics competitions. In order to run during your stay you may prefer to go with a group of amateur runners like the Night Runners or Run In Oaxaca that organize pleasant runs at night, so don´t forget your headlamp.
Oaxaca is a small provincial city where good products are usually a bit more expensive than in other places. Nonetheless, the most famous brands are available in the few specialized stores:
Salomon Store is the official store of this worldwide brand. Lots of accessories and running shoes are available mainly for trail running. You will also find information about local races.
La Gran Montaña as the name means it’s a mountain gear store where you will find everything to climb, camp and also La Sportiva trail running shoes.
Deportes Hugo is a gymnasium but with a good store if you are looking for street running shoes and accessories.
As I told you in the introduction, the climate in Oaxaca is just perfect, especially for morning runs. The year is divided into 2 seasons, rainy and dry season. The dry season starts in October and we may experience cool temperature at dawn (minimum 10°C) in January and February but as soon as the sun goes out the temperature will increase. The hottest months are April and May when the temperature is already above 30°C at 10 am. Then during the rainy season, from June to September, the clouds protect us for the king sun so the average temperature during the day is around 25°C. During the rainy season, for an afternoon run you may experience heavy tropical rain, don´t even try to protect you with a rain-jacket, you will finish totally drenched anyway but thanks to the nice temperature you will still enjoy it.