Sunday, January 8, 2012

Destination: the Running town of Jájome

The sun was barely out, but the early morning air was crisp, and fog still hung on top of the mountains as my friend and I began running this narrow, two-lane road up and down the hills of Jájome today. Located in the municipality of Cayey, this mountainous town attracts hordes of runners during the weekends. Given its challenging route, it is officially six miles long and considered to be moderately difficult, people from many different parts of the island head to Jájome to train for upcoming races. Naturally, some also make the trip to simply enjoy the beauty of the mountains of central Puerto Rico.

During our run, between mile 3 and 4, we came across the country home of the governor ("Casilla del Gobernador"). It sits right in front of what looked like a blue-colored house. This turned out to be a police station, coincidence? Along the way, we were able to enjoy some gorgeous views of the mountains, despite having to be on the look out for oncoming cars. Unfortunately, the trail is not strictly for runners but is actually a road that runs through various residential neighborhoods. Luckily, it is not a heavily transited stretch of road. There are also mile markers and road signs clearly indicating that it's an area frequented by runners. Most of the cars, the majority are probably locals, observed the speed limits and were very respectful of runners.

The most challenging part from today's run began at mile 6, where the trail officially ends and we turned around to make our way back. It was all uphill for about a mile. Afterwards, there would be brief periods of leveling off before hitting small hills. Sadly, in Puerto Rico, there aren't many trails designed exclusively for runners or cyclists. Jájome is one of the prettiest places I've gone running on the island. We ran a total of 12 miles today, and it felt absolutely amazing. If you're interested in checking out this popular running area, I suggest an early start, definitely get there before 7AM.

To get to Jájome from the San Juan metro area, head South and take exit 39 (it's right after the famous pork-eating town of Guavate), on the expressway 52. Make a left once you exit the highway, and you'll see a sign which says Jájome with a right arrow. Take this road all the way straight and you'll eventually be making your way up a mountainous road, PR-15, and you'll see mile marker 1 on your lefthand side. It took us about 45 minutes or so to get there. Have a great run!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on the running location, it sounds beautiful and challenging.


Kofla Olivieri said...

Sounds like fun. If you ever catch me running, it means a dog is chasing me, lol