A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow. It's all in conquering the challenge Mary R. Wittenberg
Valencia Marathon Race Report
Valencia is a coastal city (3rd largest in Spain) with a good mix of old and new. The event expo and start are at the modern ‘City of Arts and Sciences’. I picked up my race number and treats on the Friday so I had a full day to prepare myself, I’m so glad I did because by Saturday the majority of runners (there was 22,000) were all registering! It was rampant there in the early evening once the locals had finished work, so avoid then if you are going. Also avoid driving outside at around 4 pm.
The day before the marathon was spent climbing 200 steps to see one of the tallest views in Valencia during sunset, not the best thing to do a day before a marathon I know! But it was definitely worth it, soon after we went home and I ate double my body weight in spaghetti bolognese to prep for the carnage the next day!
Marathon morning was absolutely crazy, with around 22,000 marathon runners and several thousand 10km runners, they had provided around 15-20 small portaloos for all runners which I thought was a bit crazy!
Although I put a time of 2:59 to finish the marathon in, I was put in the 3:15 start pen as I had no proof of running a marathon that fast - this was my first one! I waited patiently in anticipation of the race start and the subsequent rugby match that begins when the start gun goes off.
The first few miles I took really steady, knowing that I had to tackle 26.2 hurtful miles, I didn't want to take any risks. I had 5 Torq energy gels - rhubarb and custard flavour and had a plan of water and gel every 40 minutes as that had worked for me in my long training runs.
Half way came and I felt like I had hardly run, watch beeped at 1:29:28, (6:51 average minute mile pace) and I was well on target. I was smiling and enjoying it! Every 3 miles there were bands, parades, aid stations and crowds cheering everyone on - I’ve never quite felt an experience like it.
20 miles down and I got a nice surprise from Beth, my fiance, who was waiting for me to run past. At this point I knew I was running well under sub 3 as even though I was in the 3:15 pen I had overtaken the 3 hour marathon pace marker.
I started to try to run each mile faster than the last for each of the last 6 miles. I crossed the finish line with my official finishing time at 2:56:52 (Garmin time 2:54:00, average 6:39 minute per mile). I was over the moon! I could hardly walk but it was worth it - mission accomplished!
I just want to say a massive thanks to Rob for writing me my marathon plan. We developed a 16 week, 6 runs a week training plan so I knew what to run and how fast to run. It was a tough plan but I was so pleased with how well it worked for me on race day.
(Rob is a sports performance specialist with over 16 years experience in the fitness industry. Focus 4 Fitness offer expert sports therapy & sports event services, personal training, sports coaching, classes and courses in Norwich).