Brazil is a vast, diverse country that spans the humid jungles of the Amazon, the sunny beaches of Rio and the cooler, rainy mountains of the south. These various climates offer visitors a variety of travel destinations within one country. However, the capital city of Brasilia differs greatly from the rest of the country and is often referred to as the “city of the future.” Smack in the middle of Brazil, Brasilia is a carefully planned city that is more representative of the Jetsons than the rest of the South American country. Runners will find a unique experience on foot in a city that was originally designed to represent utopia.
Meticulously designed by an urban planner and architect in 1956, the innovative city visually represents the shape of a flying airplane. Everything from the layout of the different districts to the symmetry and design of the buildings contributes to the overall imaginative design of the city. The result is a futuristic, innovative layout with architecture that makes the city worth at least a short visit. A long run during your trip can be quite rewarding if you know the routes that will keep you safe while still providing you with excellent views of the architecture that surrounds this city of the future.
Safety can be an issue for runners since Brasilia is not always pedestrian friendly. Sidewalks are rare in many parts of the city, and crosswalks are even more difficult to find. Curving overpasses and multi-lane highways make traversing the central area of the city a bit difficult. One of the safest places to run is within City Park, or “Parque da Cidade.” The park is larger than New York City’s Central Park and is located at the heart of the city. Many hotels are within walking distance of the park, making this a perfect spot to sneak in an early morning run before breakfast. The running trails wind through native vegetation, around a lake and trees, and encircles the activities which take place at all times of the day. With three different paved trails, runners can choose a two, four, or six mile course.
Early mornings and weekends are the busiest, and runners will pass by volleyball games, football fields, playgrounds, barbeque pits, and even a fair, complete with a ferris wheel. The trail never crosses the highway so runners can enjoy the high energy of the atmosphere without compromising on safety. The main entrance to the park can be found on Monumental Axle South, but there are several smaller entrance points throughout the park. The weather in Brasilia is typically hot and dry, so be sure to keep your skin covered and stay hydrated during your City Park run.
The most unique aspect about a run through the city of Brasilia is the opportunity to finish off your workout with a panoramic view of the entire city. After you’ve logged enough miles around the park, cool down with a walk across the highway to the TV tower. This 590 foot tower has a two observation decks, the highest at 262 feet, that offer stunning views of the best architecture Brasilia has to offer, including a view of the nearby man-made lake. As an added bonus, the 2014 World Cup stadium is currently being constructed adjacent to the tower. There is no better way to view the progress of this massive structure than atop the tower. Don’t let tired legs stop you from catching a glimpse of the view; the top is only accessible via elevator.
If you are running on the weekend, you will be treated to a craft market at the tower’s base that sells everything from artwork to soccer jerseys. This circular market seemingly goes on forever and could easily fill up the rest of the morning following a run. The food stands alone are enough to warrant a visit. Fresh empanadas and cold cervejas are available as a tasty treat after a long run.
This city of the future may not offer the most realistic glimpse of the rest of Brazil, but its utopian design offers a unique experience for any runner willing to explore it.