Why is the Porto Alegre Marathon considered the fastest in Brazil? – 01/06/2023 – On the Run

“I’m going to Porto Alegre, bye”.

The song “Deu Pra TI”, by the duo Kleiton and Kledir, became a kind of anthem of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul – a “Sampa” of the pampas. And the chorus became a rallying cry for amateur and professional marathoners who want to set new personal bests and get ratings for races abroad. The trip to Boston stops in Porto Alegre.

This weekend, 6,000 people will face the avenues on the banks of the Guaíba River in the Porto Alegre International Marathon, one of the biggest sporting events in southern Brazil. Many will run with their eyes on the clock, trying to improve their marks – myself included.

What makes Porto Alegre the Brazilian personal best mecca? Right off the bat, I can list five good reasons. Let’s go to them.


Corridor wakes up early for a good reason: and, amazingly, it’s not for pleasure. One of the factors that most influence performance during a race is the cooler weather. According to the scientific article “Effects of Climate Parameters on Endurance Running Performance: Discipline Specific Analysis of 1258 Races”, air temperature is the most important factor for good sports performance, ranking ahead of relative air humidity, of sunlight and wind speed. The explanation is physiological. Running in the heat increases dehydration, perceived exertion, reduces energy efficiency, encourages early muscle fatigue and causes eventual tissue damage. According to the same study, the best marathon performances happen in air temperatures between 10 and 17 degrees.

In June, the average temperature in Porto Alegre is between 11 and 21 degrees Celsius. It’s cool enough at the start without getting too hot as the race progresses. To help, at this time of year the sun only rises at 7:15 in the morning, which slows down the heating of the air. Runner’s luck.


Amateur athlete is also people. With few exceptions, most take vacations, eat everything at Christmas, celebrate the New Year and indulge in King Momo’s festivities. The saying that the year only starts after Carnival also applies to runners. This makes June the ideal month to run a marathon. The athlete manages to reconcile the confetti and the serpentine with the complete cycle of 12 weeks of training for the test.

Sea level

The lower the altitude, the more air for you to breathe.

For those who missed or skipped class, I’ll quickly summarize what we learned in high school science. At higher altitudes, the air becomes less dense and contains fewer oxygen molecules. That is, with each inspiration, less oxygen enters our lungs. To compensate, the heart needs to beat faster and increase blood circulation in the body. More effort to reach the same result.

The reverse is true. At sea level, there is plenty of oxygen. Almost a doping of nature for those who are used to running at altitude. With enough origin, athletes achieve better performances. It is no coincidence that Kenyans train in terrain with altitudes reaching 2500m above sea level.

flat proof

“What is the altimetry of the test”? This is a recurring question among marathon runners. In practice, what interests the athlete is whether he will go up and down hills all the time or whether he will run on mostly flat terrain.

The impact of altimetry on results is easily verifiable: marathons like Berlin, Tokyo and London often produce spectacular times and eventually world records. Boston and New York, despite tradition, are beaten with worse times due to the hills and bridges present on the route. Point for Porto Alegre, which has an enormous advantage in this criterion in relation to the São Paulo marathons, for example.

wide avenues

Much of the Porto Alegre Marathon takes place on the shores of the Guaíba, with wide lanes that do not create bottlenecks for runners. Anyone who has raced the São Silvestre knows how fluidity can be impaired due to the narrowing of the track. In the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, apart from the start, where it is natural to have some slowness, the runner has a free track ahead of him to do his best.

And you, have you already run the marathon in Porto Alegre? Write in the comments or write to [email protected]. If you prefer, message me on Instagram @rodrigofloresnacorrida.

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