Laura and I had spent the weeks before Cruce discussing the ‘freaks’ that would present and wondering if we’d be sorely outnumbered. Much to our surprise, this wasn’t the case. There were people from all walks of life and various countries, but we all had the common interest of running.
On the flight to Neuquén, we started eyeing people’s watches and shoes to guess who would be joining us. We had our first Cruce conversation with a Brazilian man while waiting to catch the overnight bus to San Martín de los Andes. We discussed our training, if we’d complemented with weights or stairs and if this was our first time. That conversation was repeated over and over with members of different teams during the next 4 days. I managed to find people that run the same routes as me and I learned where there are hills for training (just in case we do this again). We were given tips by other runners and caught the Cruce fever by just being surrounded so many avid runners.
Even though I’ve run several road races, I’ve never felt the sense of community that I did while in the camps. The awkwardness that might be present at the start of conversations was missing. Chats with fellow runners were struck up with ease due to our common ground. It made the event that much more special. Not only did we start with a collective joy of running, but we all left with experiences of surviving the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano and the details of the ups and downs (literally) of each day.