Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Urban Running Tours: Buenos Aires

You know you're a runner when...

One of your activities on vacation is signing up for a guided running tour.

Seriously :)

This actually came about completely by accident, as I was searching for Buenos Aires running clubs, running spots, etc. Our Argentina trip was "bookended" by stays in Buenos Aires and since our flight back to the states did not leave until 9:30pm on Monday, Sept. 26, I knew we would have quite a bit of time to kill that day.

Enter Urban Running Tours  This company offers personalized, guided running tours (in English or Spanish) at any pace through your choice of Buenos Aires neighborhoods. For $50 (standard tour), you get a 10K guided run of your choice (at whatever time you want), tech shirt (sorry no pic--it's in the laundry), bottled water (carried by your guide), and photos taken at various spots around the route (actually when/wherever you want). Considering that I would normally pay $35-$40 for a 10K around Birmingham, I considered this to be a comparable experience. Plus...a personal guided tour of Buenos Aires too :)

Before we left, I arranged everything easily through email and chose an 8:30 a.m. start. Backing up for just a second though...on the flight back from Patagonia Sunday afternoon, I started sneezing and noticing that my throat was feeling scratchy. I could tell I was coming down with something. Upon arriving in Buenos Aires that night, I started drinking OJ like it was my job, supplementing with cold meds and cough drops. When I woke up Monday morning, I felt like DEATH. Awful congestion, a general sense of lethargy and stupor and just completely drained. However, I really had no way to cancel the run at this point, so I decided to roll with it and take it easy as needed throughout the run. It's MY tour, right?

My guide, Phillipa, a really nice girl originally from South Africa, was waiting for me promptly in the lobby of our hotel at 8:30.  After brief intros, she explained our general route (Recoleta--the neighborhood we were staying in, as well as Palermo Chico and Palermo Lakes, per my previous requests in the email with the company owner.) I warned her that I was congested and not feeling 100% up to par and she was INCREDIBLY accomodating  and never once made me feel uncomfortable (luckily she was also carrying tissues!)

Our route encompassed SO MUCH and since we had stayed in Recoleta the first leg of our trip, I at least had some general bearings about where we were going. We ran through the Recoleta business/shopping district (Avenida Santa Fe), through several residental areas, past and through various plazas and parks, the Recoleta cemetary where Evita (and several other noted Argentinians) are buried, etc. Like any running partner, Phillipa gave me not only a guided tour, but we also talked about our backgrounds, upcoming races, current events, travel, etc.

It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky but starting to get warm and I had that awful "I'm getting sick" sweat going on--you know the one that feels especially "thick" and salty? Ugh. I must have looked even worse than I felt because Phillipa did ask if we needed to stop and get me something else to drink. Haha!

I have no idea of pace, we ran I would say 90% of the 10K at a pretty good clip, but there were times when my nose was simply a faucet and I HAD to walk just to get it under control. I kept apologizing telling her "I promise I am a real runner!" to which she reassured me that I was doing much better than she would be and that we could walk at any time! (My Type A is apparent in any country, I guess, but it was frustrating b/c other than my nose and throat I felt pretty great and was wishing for a better run under better circumstances) I only had her take a couple of pics mostly b/c I was feeling like crap and didn't want to keep stopping but I don't regret it b/c I took away so much from the experience and am so glad I got to do it.

In front of the law school at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, the largest university in Latin America (this university is completely free of charge for EVERYONE, including foreigners) 

La Flor, an aluminum sculpture designed and donated by Argentine architect, Eduardo Catalano; when operational the flower opens in the morning and closes at night

All in all, a really great experience that I would recommend to anyone visiting Buenos Aires. (And what a great business model for expanding into other cities! This is the "Business Development" part of me thinking out loud...)

I was not compensated in ANY way for this review...I paid for the tour with my own $$. All opinions are my own, I Just want others to know about my experience.


  1. What a cool way to see the city! This sounds like a great experience! :) (Well except for the whole not feeling good part).

  2. I have heard of these tours and wanted to do one! (Or be a guide!) I am happy you had a blast despite your running noise and icky sweat :)

  3. Buenos Aires rating one of the 20 largest cities in the world.Argentina has the second best quality of life in Latin America.What a place to visit and share your ideas about Buenos Aires Taxis.I think this one is awesome place for tour.

  4. City Tours Buenos Airesthe most popular tourist sites are found in the historic core of the city, in the Montserrat and San Telmo neighborhoods.