Valencia marathon 19/11/2017
The time when I was thinking to sign for a marathon in the second half of 2017 come after I gave up on the Prague marathon in May 2017, due to bad cold.
One Czech guy who runs most of the Europe city marathons recommend me Valencia. Pretty flat city circuit with chilled weather and the best crowd support, he claimed.
Landed in Valencia on Thursday eve, took the metro to the city from the airport and walked 10 mins to hostel. Next day Friday AM had a confident 13km run (pretty fast) to Expo and around the park. Later that day returned to Expo to collect the number and look around.
The Expo was poor compare to Prague or Athens, a few stalls with clothes, gels or a little presentation to other marathons. Had a little chat with a guy with Perkins Great Eastern run bag. On the way out have been stopped by couple as they have seen my WJ hoodie. They were from Stamford Striders. We wish to each other good luck.
On Saturday my good old friend John from London come down to support me. He lives and works in Barcelona now. We had a little walk and dinner in an old town.
The race start on Sunday 8.30am, around 20 mins walking distance from my hostel. The race started just before the bridge with 10km race as well. Their corridor line up on the left side of dual carriageway and was turning left, we were turning right after the bridge.
A big problem was with toilets. I have seen around 10 Toi tois with a massive queue and 45 mins to kick off. I start panicking and moaning. Walked alongside the fence to my pink corridor. Had a plan to run with the pacer but they were at front with hundreds of runners locked inside the corridor. A nearby coffee shop gave me an idea to pop in for a toilet. There was a queue around 6 people and 30 mins to start. Jump into ladies toilet and my Garmin showing 8.30am. Come out and squeeze to the end of my pink corridor entrance and shortly the crowd start moving towards the start. When we hit the start I realized the runners are far behind 3:45h aim, the pace was slow. It was difficult to overtake as everyone was running neck to neck.
Later one young fella with German accent asked me “what’s the time”. I replied we do 5:25 pace and we on 2.22km. He wanted to chat but I didn’t want to waste the energy so he disappear in the crowd. More likely I was looking for someone to stick and cruise with. Found a chap with Italian shirt with a robotic marathon movements. He was kicking 5:15-5:20min/km which perfectly suit me. I was running behind this guy for almost 30km and laugh how funny these marathoners are.
Around 8 km watched an elite runners on the other side of the road with a motorbike support at front. An incredible speed to be catch on the push bike, maybe. 17km was passing Valencia football stadium and feel strong behind the Italian guy. Every 5km water and isotonic drink supply. Gels on 20km and 30km. A very loud music and great crowd support include school kids everywhere on the route, feel likes everyone is an elite kicking at front. On 30 km runs with avg. pace at 5:17min/km that is a marathon at 3:43h. Unfortunately had a muscle cramps so stopped around 32km, stretch the legs, suck the gel and keep going again. Since struggle to keep the same pace and slow a bit. Stopped again another two times but last 2km was pushed by screaming crowd. Finishing line was around modern museum of science with a water around. Crossed the line and took e a sit on the side with bad muscle cramps. A lady come to me and stretch my leg. Stand later and walked in corridor for a rewards. Water and isotonic drink as much I want, a medal. A bag contain bunch of oranges, blanket, peanuts. One pint of tap beer was served as well! My official time was 3:54:45.
My friend pick me and we walked to nearby café. Drink three small beers and watched the marathon in the TV. The best men from Kenya finished at 2:05:15, set the course record with very good time overall as well. Walked to my hostel and later meet the friend in Irish pub but this is an another story.
Next marathon will be Paris in April and Prague (my town of origin) in May. Will try to cut another minutes but it takes a lot of training and time.