February 28 - March 5 2023 | Guatemala
Sculpt the young leaders of a nation and run our most iconic courseBOOK
The Impact Marathon Series returns for our sixth year in Guatemala and it is all set to, once more, be an extraordinary experience. You’ll be treated to one of our most breathtaking locations and a hidden gem of Central America. Whilst we are there we will work alongside the incredible team at SERES as they train young leaders to own their voices, use their voices and catalyse change in their communities. The Impact Marathon in Guatemala has all the ingredients that make our global running movement an unforgettable week with a life-changing impact on all those involved.
The Beast of Pacaya
There are some courses, that when you run them, they touch your life forever. This route is absolutely one of them.
With 2000m climbing up to 2400m altitude to the crater of an active volcano, where you feel the rumble of the earth beneath your feet and the deep black lava rocks.
From the volcano, you will then head down to the southern lava field and take on kilometre after kilometre that can best be described as ‘running on the moon’.
I ‘Lava’ This Race
Taking on the Southern lava field will push you to dig deep inside yourself. Barren. Hot. Windy. Raw.
It is completely unique. You’ll head for a downhill start winding through fincas and then into our moonscape world with the piping volcano up high above you to your left.
It is an out an back course so what goes down, must come back up - so get ready for a simply amazing, challenging second half - and keep yourself distracted by the admiring the power of Mother Nature that you will see all around you.
I ‘Finca’ That’s Enough
The ever fiendish Impact Marathon 10km route will give you the best of the our race experience.
Our most popular distance with our Guatemalteco runners - it is a wonderful entry to the world of Impact Running and trail running.
You’ll take on the Finca Descent before reaching the edge of the Southern Lava Field - and turning back to take on what we have called the Finca Ascent. We are an imaginative bunch!
This is our highest rated Athletes' Village in the series, overlooking three volcanoes, including one active one that regularly offers a lava show in the evenings. The top accommodation is a set of stunning treehouses, you have to see them to believe just how remarkable they are.
The most iconic Impact course in our series but also the hardest. This is a route that tells the story of the nation, from the winding trails through the fincas, to the surreal moonscape of the lava field and the bubbling crater at the summit. Choose 10km, 21km or the full 42km and try to conquer the Beast of Pacaya.
We are taking the long-term view here. Our charity partners are both focused on their youth. They provide young people not just with knowledge but with the skills, attitudes, values and the support they need to thrive as adults, enjoy good health, succeed economically, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. It's simple, yet complex. Vital by often overlooked. And it's the centrepiece of our week in Guatemala.
One of our favourite things about this race is just how much this country captures our Impact Runners. It's a nation that surprises you and has you questioning why it took you so long to visit. We’re sure you’ll be looking for ways to come back -after all our most repeated race!
Day 1 - 28th February
Wake up to watch the breathtaking sunrise over Agua, Fuego and Acatanango and get into the swing of life at your project. For those wanting to get a feel for the terrain, you can also head out on one of our training runs. We'll be staying around the Athletes' Village today, visiting the village school of El Hato, to see the immense work SerNiña does in confidence building amongst the children. This is what the Impact Marathon experience is all about - seeing exactly where your fundraising is going, how it is changing lives and why it is so powerful. It brings to life the challenges faced and what we can do to support some amazing people as they fight to empower their communities.
In the afternoon, we'll meet the SERES team and begin seeing the methodology and work they do in each community.
Day 2 - 1st March
We are heading off early doors to get to Tecpan, a hub town for SERES and one with a group of youth ambassadors who are truly driving change in the community. From Flor's permaculture training homestead, to the women's rights marches organised by the ambassadors, we never quite know what to expect but what we do know, is that you will be blown away by the drive, the passion and the amazing work of the youth in this community.
Day 3 - 2nd March
In June 2018, life changed forever for the communities that sat on the slopes of Fuego Volcano. The eruption displaced eight communities who, after the initial support to relocate, are now looking to rebuild their lives in their new community. SERES was already working across these communities and it their youth ambassadors that are now leading the way in building this new future.
We'll also be visiting the Resilience Farm, to see just how we can use land to create massive, long term and sustainable impact.
Day 4 - 3rd March
You have a big day tomorrow so today it's time to unwind. We will head down to a pool to put your feet up, carb load a bit and generally enjoy a bit of down time after the intensity of the week so far. You are free to do as you please, so you can definitely head into Antigua to buy some lunch, relax with your fellow competitors, and tour this absolutely beautiful colonial town. In the evening we will be doing our race briefing alongside a bucket load of amazing pasta.
Day 5 - 4th March
Get ready for an early morning! We will be heading across to Pacaya Volcano, from a distance, you may well see the lava flowing as the night sky glows red above the summit. Before you know it, you will be stood at the base, shoulder to shoulder with your fellow Impact Runners. Ready. The moment has come - race day. Get ready for stunning trails and a remarkable finish line moment, as you take the final steps of the hardest race of your life. And at that finish line, we’ll have a huge welcome home for you. Party into the night, you deserve it...
Day 6 - 5th March
The race is over and you'll have the usual aches and pains to remind you. To take your mind off it we have organised some incredible experiences that show you the very best that Guatemala has to offer. Alternatively, and reluctantly, we will let you return home and transfers to the airport are included!
Best trip I’ve ever taken!! Not only did I love every minute of it but I came back refreshed and renergized to make an impact in my home community and in my life.
The fact that you get so many, foreigners, locals, non-runners and runners together taking part in a, quite frankly ridiculous, running challenge is inspirational. The lessons I've learned, the knowledge I've gained and the friendships I've made are unforgettable. See you again soon...
One of the most incredible experiences of my life. Extremely well planned and organized, the team was unbelievable. Recommending IMS to all I come across. Feeling fortunate to have experienced my first but not last IMS.
A week and a bit on, I just never really appreciated all the time and hard work, you all put in to making the Impact week run so smoothly. I can honestly say it was on the best weeks of my life, I learnt so much and met such amazing people. Yes, running the half-marathon wasn’t easy, but sh*t happens and I had such a good time and experienced a lot which is all that matters.
Sara has been involved in every single Guatemala Impact experience and has grown to be Co-Executive Directer of both our charity partner, SERES as well as a key leader of Impact during our time working together. She is the heartbeat of the week, and we are always indebted to the level of preparation and care she puts into the Impact experience. Her bilingual skills are in constant demand so the runners can follow the stories as they develop through the week. Her passion for the youth and for her country constantly inspires our team.
fter the pandemic enforced Nick to take a year away from Guatemala, he will be back to share in a race and a country he has completely in his heart. Nick created Impact Marathons way back in 2015 to use running as a tool to change the world. He has designed routes across the world and built the series from a dream to reality. His Spanish is not as good as he claims but he continues trying his best and making mistakes. This year, he'll be taking a backseat as the Guatemalan team drives the race...should he join in the run?
We love Alma! We first met here back in year 1! She helped us translate in our very first year and then she just fell in love with the our vision. This will be Alma's second year leading the Impact Runner Development Fund in Guatemala (you will hear more about this soon) and her sixth year as part of our core team in country. She's a full Impact Runner, an agroforestry engineer and one of the most incredible humans we've ever come across!
Dave Melody has become a cult figure at the Guatemala Impact Marathon. Instantly recognised by all those who have run the race and loved by us all too. He first came to Impact as a runner in our 2019 event in Guatemala. Since then, Dave ran with us in Nepal and returned to Guatemala in 2020. Dave works extensively with organizations that provide educational opportunities to children in indigenous communities in Guatemala, unrelated to Impact. He has now joined the team as the Impact Week coordinator for 2022, where he can share his experiences from working in the country with the international runners joining us this year.
Liza joined the team - officially - in 2022. Her first Impact Marathon full in action! She's a comms expert so anything related to Guatemala, Spanish, where to go, what to buy, etc... she's your girl. Liza helps us with every single message that you receive prior to the race, during the race, and after the race! She loves road running - but we are 100% confident that will change into trail running very soon!
An ever-present in the team, Pablo is a guide who knows the trails of the region like few others. We keep trying to get him to run them, but he is a mountain biker through and through. When you walk through Antigua with Pablo, be sure to add an extra half an hour for all the people who stop him to say 'hola'. In the last four years, the race has also had a huge impact on Pablo himself: “I was used to seeing communities in need and be powerless, then with Impact I learned that sometimes, even small thing matters to people, so if there’s something small I can do as an individual, I do it!"
Abigail is a pocket rocket with a fire that shines from her whenever you meet her. She is a Maya Tz’utujil from San Juan la Laguna, Atitlan and can understand the indigenous languages of Tz’utujil, Kakchiquel, Quiche as well as the international languages of Spanish and English. In 2011, she discovered our charity partners, SERES, and along with her own power to create an even greater impact in her country, she joined the SERES team in 2013, where she has facilitated transformative change processes with hundreds of youth. She is now a Co-Executive Director and driving huge change across the indigenous communities of Guatemala and El Salvador.
Run the Live Volcano
February 28 - March 5 2023
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The power of SERES lies in the vision for long term, systemic change through empowering the youth to lead. Great leaders inspire real change, they catalyse development and unite communities. We can’t tackle Climate Change without the leaders who will make the hard decisions and stand up for our plannet. SERES works across a diverse group of young, future leaders. They work across all indigenous groups, they work across gender, they work with those who have something inside them that burns to be a leader, that burns to create change. What inspires the Impact team… It is not easy, it is not a programme that will show you tangible results tomorrow - but it will be truly powerful and inspiring to see the youth of today blossom into the leaders of tomorrow.
One of our smallest organisations, that is nothing short of inspiration in their persistence whilst up against a seemingly impossible task. The team works in a small community right next to a prison…the only reason there is a community here is so that the families could be close to the mean residing inside the prison walls. After school, the children have no one at home to look after them, help with their homework, feed them. So this after school group provides a powerful support network that ensures the children and youth of the community are safe, off the streets and developing their skill sets. In turn they are eating nutritious food and grow up to be less vulnerable to the gangs that hold so much sway in the communities. What inspires the Impact team… A small change, with huge, exponential Impact. An after school group is something we all understand and can relate to - but the ongoing impact of keeping children learning, well fed, with friends and in a safe environment is truly life-changing and impactful.