Second time in Burgos to run its marathon, after last years’ experience. It combines a half marathon, and running over the same course for another lap, the marathon. Number of runners choosing the full distance is still low, for a race going for its third edition.
Arriving on Saturday, there is plenty of time to get the bib number just before lunch. There is no runner expo as such in the Coliseum Sports Hall, where I pick my runner bag, with a t-shirt, some local products and a free entrance to the Cathedral. The Coliseum will allocate tomorrow the start and finish line, and it is 20 minutes walking from the town centre, following the Arlanzón river course.
After a tasteful lunch in the central area around Sombrerería Street, the evening is used to visit the Cathedral (normal entry 7€), a Gothic master piece with UNESCO World Heritage Distinction, that also distinguished the town of Burgos with such honour. A perfect opportunity to combine sport and tourism. Also recommended the modern Evolution Museum, whose visit can be combined with the Atapuerca Archaeological Site, a key place for the study of our ancestors.
Although weather is still good, forecast is not promising. The storm Julie coming from the Atlantic is going to enter the Iberian Peninsula with hurricane winds and rain starting on Saturday night, and the worst conditions expected on Sunday morning.
Despite a cloudy sunrise, temperature is around 15°C as I walk towards the start area, where people are gathering slowly. Race starts at 9 with around one thousand participants, many of them going for the half marathon. Course leaves the stadium area, crosses the river, and following its course, passes Las Huelgas monastery (with a few hundred meters on cobblestones) and the University area. Then it crosses the river again, heading towards the quiet Costa Rica neighbourhood, where is the turning point towards the Cathedral and the city centre, and from there to the Coliseum.
It starts raining occasionally, although it doesn´t bother much. I keep the 3.30 pacing group in front of me, while miles start passing and temperature drops. Runners groups are still big, but finishing the first lap spaces become wider. I cross the half marathon in 1.47. If I am able to keep this pace it could be a good time. Nevertheless I am slowly falling behind the 3.30 group, as my legs don´t feel as strong as they should be, despite taking my energy gels as usual and banana in the drinking stations.
Totally wet, the friction of my right foot´s sole on the running shoe starts feeling painful. It looks that I will finish with a blister souvenir. With long gaps between runners I am also surpassed by the 3.45 pacer about three miles from the finish line, without much energy left in my reservoir to pursue him. A last effort, let me cross the finish line in 3.47.17, no far off from last year time. Overall position 95 for a total of 148 finishers.
It makes for the 10th marathon of the year. It could have been a better time, but I run the second half of the race 15 minutes slower than the first. A bit disappointing, although it makes me think that I could still be able to get below 3.30 with proper training and resting times.
Next stop: Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes, in France.
Score: 4 (out of 5)
Pros: good organization; facilities close to the start/finish line.
Cons: water stations could be improved (I missed 2-3 because they didn´t have enough volunteers); distant surroundings had no public; cobblestones area; lack of running expo.
Extras: Cathedral Square will allocate the start and finish area in 2019 & 2020.