The Lake Atitlán Marathon is a sports and culture event held in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, the “Land of the Living Maya”. It is organized around two competitive races: a 42 km run and a 21 km run. This is a non-profit, fundraising event, with proceeds going toward targeted environmental projects to protect the Lake from existing contamination threats.
Lake Atitlán is considered one of as the world’s most beautiful lakes. It is a volcanic caldera and the deepest lake in Central America. Lakeside elevation is a mile high, providing for comfortable year-round temperatures despite its location in Central America. There is relatively little flat terrain in the Lake basin. Thus, the long runs of this event are especially challenging due to the rugged terrain and altitude. The inspirations to meet this challenge are the incomparable beauty of the environment and year-round, Spring-like weather of the region.
A variety of other sporting and cultural activities are held over a 5-day period surrounding the competitive races in a variety of locations in the lake basin. Lake Atitlán supports 12 individually unique lakeside communities. The majority of the activities are conducted from Panajachel which is the major tourist community of this world-class lake. It hosts a complete tourist infrastructure to include hotels, banks, ATM’s, internet cafes, restaurants and nightlife.
Most of the other communities also have hotels and tourist services. In addition to scheduled sporting and cultural activities, local businesses offer other attractions (e.g., paragliding, trail hiking, SCUBA diving) and local travel agencies offer regional and national tours.
The first running of the Lake Atitlan Marathon, held in May 2012, was a gratifying success, having attracted well over 300 runners from Central and North America as well as others from as far away as New Zealand and Vietnam. The next marathon event will be held on Thanksgiving weekend 2013, with the 42k marathon on Saturday November 30th and the 21k half marathon race on Sunday December 1st. 2013. For updates, revisit our website or follow us on facebook.
Testimonials from runners about our inauguration in 2012:
To all the runners of the world, this is a marathon you MUST run at least once in your life time. The course is excellent, challenging but, isn't that what endurance running is all about? The view of the Lake, the people are just great, good people, the organization was incredible! Amazing!! I did not expect to see. I will definitely come back in 2013 and I hope to see more of you runners out there, Lake Atitlan marathon that is the place to be in 2013. See you all there and keep running!!!
- Lenin Lopez, Sylmar, California, USA
I came from Colorado to run the half, making it a special trip for my son and me. What a fun, soaking wet day! So glad I was there. You all are fantastic!
- Lisa Huddleston Buxman, Greeley, Colorado, USA
This marathon is fantastic. The course is stunning. Yes it is steep but don't let that put you off because there is maybe 15k of really scenic downhill as a reward after your climbs! I was hugely impressed with how well organized it is. The aid stations are frequent, the people are friendly-what else can I say? I LOVED it!! I have done many different events and this rates as being right up there-if you are abroad and thinking of doing this event I highly recommend it. Safety is not a concern-the lake is lovely and I would let my 4 kids walk on their own-this is not Guatemala City. Please support it next year, it totally rocks and you will NOT be disappointed. Well done to all the event organizers-a great job.
- Kristina Margarita Milne, 1st women (42k), New Zealand
This event was a SUCCESS! Good vibe, well organized, everything was great! The run was pretty beautiful! Many thanks to all who supported this, eager to also run next year!!
- Jeroma Sexton, Chimacum, USA
Thanks to the organizers! That was a truly amazing event; the people, the race, and of course the lake. Time to start training for next year.
- Jeremiah Tracy, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
This race was awesome! Love it because it was very challenging and I would do it again next year in a heart beat!
- Mervin Duque, USA
This is by far the BEST half-marathon I've ever ran. I thank you for your commitment, dedication, and passion to coordinate this race. Everything was PERFECT! I'm glad to have been part of it.
- Patty Villacorta-Melendreras, Guatemala City
Good activity, thanks to all organizers and team members for their support and hospitality during the race. It is an unforgettable experience, and who have the opportunity to compete next year at the most extreme race in Guatemala, don’t miss it. It’s an extreme wonderful experience.
- Allan Estrada, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
The distance from the city is small, the road is good, there are many good hotels to choose from. The route of the 21k is very good and the 42, super. Hydration was perfect; the volunteers were motivated and cheered us all the way. We are eager to run again in 2013!
- Karla Labbé-Noriega, Guatemala City
Congratulations to the organizers, the event was a success, it’s safe, good hydration, publication of results, but above all, we applaud the efforts because the event was exclusively for lake conservation and promotion of tourism in one of the most beautiful places in Guatemala. Great!! and see you next year.
- Ghost Runners Guatemala