14/03/2014Cancun Joins Ultra Marathoner Norma Bastidas in Her Fight Against Human Trafficking

The Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and Fiesta Americana hotels are proud to announce their support for Norma Bastidas (dual citizen of Canada and Mexico), who is looking to achieve a Guinness World Record in an Ultra Triathlon by completing a 3,535 mile trek in the span of 26 – 45 days. Her race began at the beaches of Cancun and will end in Washington, D.C.

Bastidas, a dual Mexican and Canadian citizen, is a sexual violence survivor, humanitarian and the first female ultra-marathoner to complete seven ultra-marathons on seven different continents in seven months during 2009. iEmpathize, a non-profit organization that combats modern slavery and child exploitation, will accompany Bastidas and capture her story on film. Bastidas will be using this marathon to encourage people to continue the relentless fight against human trafficking.

The iEmpathize film will be released in late 2014 or early 2015 and will be titled, Be Relentless and will feature not only her story, but the stories of human trafficking victims and their advocates in both the United States and Mexico. The money raised from this film will benefit prevention projects through development of materials, programs and curriculums for educational projects used to empower survivors through scholarship funds.

After speaking out about her sexual abuse, rape and near trafficking experience, Bastidas set out on a task to run from Vancouver, Canada to her birthplace in Mexico – a journey she made to empower victims to stand up against violence and trafficking. She chronicled her trip in a book titled, “Running Home”.

Bastidas began her journey in Cancun, Mexico on March 1, 2014, where she is currently swimming 94 miles and will then bike 2,739 miles through the U.S. – Mexico Border and arrive at Laredo, Texas around March 24. She will then continue cycling though San Antonio and Houston, Texas and on to New Orleans, Louisiana. Once she reaches Montgomery, Alabama, she will then finish her marathon by running to Washington D.C., a total of 689 miles – running an average of 30 – 50 miles per day.

Fiesta Americana, a Mexican hotel chain, is Bastidas’ official sponsor and will provide the triathlete with hotel stays along her journey through Mexico. She will recover from her 94 mile swim in open water at the Fiesta Americana Condesa Hotel and Resort in Cancun and will stay at different Fiesta Americana properties throughout Mexico, including hotels in Merida, Ciudad del Carmen, Minatitlan, Córdoba, Puebla, Tula, San Luis Potosi, Matehuala, Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo.

“The ultras are difficult, both physically and emotionally,” said Bastidas, who was featured in both the Oprah Winfrey Network and in Runners World magazine. “However this challenge is only temporary for me, and when the ultra is over my life will go back to normal. This is about the survivors and how they conquer the incredible challenges of their situations and go on with the normality of everyday life.”

Bastidas believes this ultra-triathlon is a metaphor for life – that everything is possible if the challenges are broken down into small goals and tackled one by one. “These victims are heroes, they are survivors, and hopefully this documentary will let people see what true strength is like and what it means to be a strong woman and human being.”

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About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is Mexico’s number one tourist destination and is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches, unique beauty and breathtaking turquoise waters.

Cancun’s shoreline completed a $71 million dollar makeover in 2010 that featured 1.3 billion gallons of sand to renovate the Hotel Zone’s seashore. The most popular tourism destination in Mexico and Latin America has also added to its sun, beach, and nightlife, by creating a unique five-day route that will offer visitors a chance to experience adventure and interaction with nature. Cancun and the Treasures of the Caribbean invite travelers to discover the vast natural, cultural and gastronomical cultures of Puerto Morelos, and the islands of the Mexican Caribbean, which include: Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Contoy. Cancun is a multifaceted destination that combines the very best in luxury, nature, historical Mayan culture, glamour, and world-class amenities with seductive adventure offerings and an up-and-coming gastronomy scene.

For more information, visit the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau website at: www.cancun.travel. Follow us on Twitter @CancunCVB, “LIKE” us on Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cancuncvb browse through our videos on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/cancuntravel and share your pictures of Cancun on our Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22572360@N07/.

About iEmpathize
This nonprofit organization dedicates itself to fighting crimes made against children and for human rights in general. Their mission is to eradicate child labor and slavery and inspire a cultural change towards empathy and commitment. We work in the prevention, intervention, post-care and advocacy of these children. Most of our work is focused in the United States and Mexico.