Cuba Run

AGENCIA CUBANA DE NOTICIAS
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Fiercely patriotic yet unafraid to speak out against the government, Piti is a rebellious child of the Revolution. While I was shooting that film, I went to a car event where they announced the first official car race in Cuba in over fifty years. My crew and I decided to follow the racers who were preparing for this historic event, which was supposed to be held six weeks after the announcement.

The race kept on getting postponed and ended up taking over a year to organize. During these postponements, I really got to know my characters and their communities. We shot over hours of footage with them in order to capture not only their vibrant drag racing culture, but also how Cuba is changing today.

Stay at a Casa Particular. Destinations in Cuba Learn more about Cuba Tips and practical information. Havana, Cuba's enigmatic capital. Why book with Cuba Travel Network? Three days before the contest, just as excitement has reached a fever pitch, the Pope announces his visit to Cuba, and the government cancels the race. The racers are furious, and in defiance, they hold their own illegal contest. However, with a lousy track and no judges present, they argue and almost come to blows, refusing to acknowledge a winner. The only thing that will appease them now is an official race.

REY Rey was born in a workshop and comes from a line of ingenious Cuban mechanics—the type who simply make the parts they cannot find in a nation blockaded by the United States. He carries the burden of not wanting to disappoint his loving yet demanding father, Tito. Jote PITI Piti was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, and although the treatment was successful, he knows it could strike again at any moment.

Artemisa, where the film was filmed.

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The start line—which doubles as the finish line—was in front of the Capitolio, which looks like the United States Capitol building in Washington, only with palm trees out front. The rhythmic thumping of salsa music filled the air as the more than 5, participants from 66 countries congregated for the races.

You could hear conversations in Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, and French.

I met a German couple whose cruise ship happened to be in port the day of the race, as well as Americans eager to chat with anyone else speaking English. Cubans get to run for free, so it seemed like anyone who so much as had a minor inclination to run, ran. Many runners were there with friends and relatives, and some participants wore costumes.

Faced with economic and food shortage crisis, Cuba ramps up rationing

Cuban runners: They're just like us! One man ran with shark fin attached to his head, and another ran barefoot while drawing with pastels on a canvas held by a sling around his neck. I run so slowly—jog, really—that I usually lose sight of the runners at most of the races I run in the States, while also staying clear of the walkers.

Back home, it feels like the more serious runners opt for longer distances. Turns out I needn't have worried. In rough numbers, runners did the full marathon, 1, did the half, and the other 3, did the 10K or 5K. I had plenty of company the whole time. Restrooms at many sites—including the Jose Marti Airport—are staffed by ladies who will sell you a handful for a tip.

Fast & Furious 8 - Cuba Race ( First Scene )

Elsewhere, its presence can be an iffy proposition. The starting line had just four porta-potties—with none positioned along the route. My thinking was that if I needed to make a pit stop, I could use the money to buy a quick drink in a bar or restaurant, then use the facilities. Seconds before the race started, I used one of the porta-potties and discovered all the toilet paper was gone.

I was grateful for my ziplocked stash, which spared me having to tear some pages from the old paperback a kind stranger had left for that very purpose. A marathon is The rubber wristbands given to competitors listed 42K, 21K, 10K and 5K. That meant I had to do a certain amount of math in my head when figuring out my pace. But it was not a big deal. The race results provided both finish time and chip time, but there were no official timing clocks along the route, so runners had to rely on their watches to get a sense of their cumulative time and pace.

That meant my husband could pause his time when he took a short detour out of curiosity to Ho Chi Minh Park to view its namesake statue, since he was unlikely to rely on the official timing system anyway. Your smart phone might be a little less smart—download your music and directions ahead of time. Wifi is limited to hot spots provided by the government, but those tend to be crowded, as Habaneros congregate around them at all hours to video chat with friends and relatives overseas.

There will be hills. You just might not notice them, for the scenery. American cars straight out of the s drove past weathered Spanish Baroque buildings painted in sherbet-hued colors: pastel pinks, oranges, yellows, and aquas. The turnaround for the 10K came just past the American Embassy —the same one that had been in the news lately. The half and full marathoners continued on a course that headed up into the hills —two of them pretty steep—through winding streets with frequent turns that were well-marked by volunteers. The full marathon is simply a second loop of the same course. Along the way were 11 Puntos Oasis, or comfort stations, manned by friendly volunteers who offered bottled water, electrolyte drinks, barrels of ice cubes, and setups that let overheated runners shower themselves with water from a gallon drum mounted on a scaffold.

While there were lots spectators cheering at the start, other portions of the course reminded us that for most Cubans, the day of the race was just another work day. And later on, workers at a bus stop remained largely silent as the marathoners passed by, their commutes foremost in their minds. But runners and spectators alike cheered on a racer climbing a steep hill in a homemade wheelchair—progressing at what seemed like one centimeter at a time.

You can do it! There may be four different race distances—but only one finish line. Since we all started at the same time and finished at the same location, racers for all four distances could finish at the same time. An elderly man dragging one foot behind him with every pained step might finish his 5K alongside a fleet-footed half-marathoner.

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A marathoner might finish alongside a struggling half-marathoner with the longer-distance runner usually looking less tired. Motorcycle escorts blowing sirens cleared the path to the finish for the lead runners, who were competing for a prize of airfare to run in the Paris marathon. The winners were both Cuban.