Run, Ride, Rio

Brazilian beach paradise set to host the world for 2016 Olympics

Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue overlooks the city from Corcovado mountain.

Rio de Janeiro is known as the Marvelous City. For starters, it has beautiful beaches and dream views. From the Christ the Redeemer monument, the stone of Arpoador or the Chinese View, the most fantastic sunrises and sunsets can be seen, images that engrave in your memory.

The seafood is sublime and it’s true, you can drink potent caipirinha, Brazil’s signature cocktail, at any time of day. Rio is also known for friendly people and soccer worshippers. But the best way to experience the city is close to the ground; cycling, running or hiking, with endless possibilities for sports enthusiasts.

“It’s an outdoor gym, which can be enjoyed at any time of year, given that there is no winter,” says Manuela Vilaseca. ‘Manu’ is one of the cariocas (people born in Rio de Janeiro) who helped transform Brazilian sport into a lifestyle that permeates this charming city.

Rio is a place where people share common spaces, whatever their social and cultural differences.

“In my case, I never went to Christ the Redeemer in the famous train, but I did running or cycling. And anyone can do it,” says Vilaseca, an athlete with the typical enthusiasm of the cariocas, who feel sport and nature at the core of their culture, especially this year.

For the first time, the  Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games come to South America. Expectations are huge.

The Summer Games take place in Rio de Janeiro from Aug. 5-21. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about Brazil’s carioca culture. This is a place where people share common spaces, whatever their social and cultural differences.

Pedra da Gavea Mountain
[/media-credit] Manuela Vilaseca runs on Pedra da Gavea mountain, in Rio de Janeiro.
Photo: Bernardo Rodrigues

Rio de Janeiro breathes action from January to December year after year. You can bike, hike, run ultra-marathons and triathlons, among other activities. All this in a diverse, dynamic landscape.

Getting to Pedra da Gavea (Gavea Rock) inside Tijuca National Park is perhaps the most amazing trek in Rio de Janeiro. To reach the end is not easy, but it is very rewarding. You can hire a guide, especially to traverse the steep rock wall called Carrasqueira. The trail is less than three kilometres and can be hiked in about three hours. Once atop the 847 metre mountain, a panoramic view above the Atlantic coast awaits.

An active adventurer can get in excellent hill training on the path to Christ the Redeemer monument, the emblem of the city. This circuit, which can be done running, walking or cycling, starts from Lage Park and is home to monkeys, butterflies, vultures and frigatebirds. The 2,240 metre climb takes you through dense forest past waterfalls and over three small river crossings.

For cyclists, in just one morning you can get an extensive tour of the most interesting parts of the city, with moderate climbs. Start at the Chinese View and ride to the Emperor’s Table, Alto da Boa Vista, the old hotel Paineiras and finish at Christ the Redeemer. The roads are in good condition and there are spectacular views of the sea, mountains and the city.

If you want to visit Brazil to test yourself in some interesting competition that is not the Olympics, you can do so at any time of the year.


The International Marathon of Rio de Janeiro is held each May. In July, you can compete in the Ultra Marathon of Rio de Janeiro. In September, Rio hosts the Ironman triathlon. And in October, the Rio International Half Marathon should not be missed. It starts from São Conrado, passing along Avenida Niemeyer and the beaches of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana, to reach the beautiful Aterro of Flamengo. “It’s a nice test. Cariocas feel pride in our half-marathon,” says Vilaseca.

For those who like traditional bike competitions, the Tour of Rio stage race is becoming very popular. This test, which stops at different cities in Rio de Janeiro state, normally takes place in August, but this year, due to the Olympics, takes place in May.

Tour do Rio
[/media-credit] Biking routes are open 24 hours a day near the Copacabana Palace Hotel.
Photo: Tour do Rio

If you are adventurous and love sports, you have to go through Rio at least once in your life.

In the Marvelous City, your eyes will not rest among such natural beauty and every day will be a different adventure, filled with emotion. At the end of each day, you will rest your feet on the white sand of the beach and soak in a magical sunset from Arpoador rock in Ipanema.

You will give thanks for being Carioca — born of this city — at least for a short while.

Explore Rio De Janeiro

Getting there: United Airlines and Air Canada fly with one or two stops to Rio de Janeiro. The fare averages $800 CAD. NOTE: Rates may rise during the Olympic Games (August), New Year (December) and Carnival (February).

Rio has 2 subway lines, 32 subway stations, almost 450 bus lines, 3 airports and more than 50 km of beaches.

Food is a treasured part of Carioca life. With roots in African, Amerindian and European epicurean traditions, the tastes of Rio de Janeiro range from vibrant street food to upscale, gourmet selections – all best accompanied by Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha.

Rio is a ‘Biking City’ with over 74 km of bicycle pathways, most alongside the beaches.

Football Soccer is the most popular sport and is home to 4 traditional Brazilian football clubs: Botafogo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo.

Rio’s annual Carnival attracts more than half a million visitors a year for a celebration that revolves around samba music.

Major Races in Brazil

  • Tour do Río (Cycling) – May 18-25, 2016
  • Rio de Janeiro City Marathon – May 29, 2016
  • IRONMAN South American Championship – May 29, 2016
  • Marathon International Porto Alegre – June 12, 2016
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games – Cycling – August 6, 7 & 10, 2016 – Marathon – August 21, 2016
  • L’etape Brazil by Le Tour de France (Cycling) – September 16, 2016
  • IRONMAN 70.3 Río De Janeiro – September 25, 2016
  • Rio De Janeiro International Half Marathon – October 16, 2016
  • IRONMAN 70.3 Fortaleza – November 13, 2016

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