Marathon

 
 

Marathon

|A series about superfans in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. |

The Marathon fans have a reputation as one of the most rowdy and confrontational groups in the country. A passionate posse—mostly men—blur the line between fanatics and agitators. When things go well, joy and togetherness are on display. But, when things go wrong, inhumanity and animosity come all too easily.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras is one of the poorest and most violent cities on the planet, holding the title as the murder capital of the world off and on for the past decade and more than 60% of the population lives below the poverty line.

The soccer stadiums and the fans occupying them represent a concentration of stereotypes the country and city lay claim to. Despite the detestable acts of violence and hatred that occur between rival fans and authorities, there is an inherent sense of intimacy that glimmers when Marathon does well.

I embedded myself within the community of fans—always in the cheap seats which are named “Sol” because we face directly into the harsh midday sunlight. The more affluent fans pay for seating in the shade. Home games are rowdy, and brush-ins with the Military Police and tear gas happen, but it is the away games at rival stadiums that are the most out-of-control. Fans often clash in the streets before the game and throw rocks and chunks of concrete at each other and onto the field at players during the game.

For many of these fans, fútbol is the only outlet they have; the only thing they feel comfortable supporting in a country where crime is rampant, the opportunities are scarce, and the government is corrupt.

A possible metaphor for the country itself, a place plagued by brutality and disorder and overlooked by most of the world, yet, momentary flashes of hope and beauty exist in it’s people and environment—the Marathon fans are simultaneously a symbol of adversity and resilience.