Pros: cheap registration (25€); well provided drink stations; finish line in the Town Hall main square.
Cons: 3-laps course; long unfriendly section (about 2 miles) in the port area; shuttle bus to the start arriving too close to the start time.
First race in Galicia, where I have never competed before. It was the only marathon in Galicia until this year, which saw also the first edition of Vigo’s marathon on the previous weekend. Not very good timing for both races that could do better more separated in the calendar.
Organised just starting my Easter holiday break I arrive on Friday, with a whole weekend to take things easy. On Saturday I collect my running number and t-shirt in the sports section of a big commercial centre. The rest of the day I walk around town to get a sight of the most touristic spots, as the Tower of Hercules, the oldest lighthouse still working in the world, and declared World Heritage by Unesco.
On race day, I take the free shuttle bus to the start offered by the organisation, saving a 30-minutes walk, and arriving to the finish area and cloakrooms at 8.10. With marathon starting at 8.30 there is just enough time to leave my bag, and walk towards the start line, a short walk away. We are about 500 runners for the marathon, and more than 1000 for the 10k race scheduled at 8.45.
Ideal conditions for running with cloudy sky and about 14-15°C I decide to tag with the 3.30 group, as in the last marathon. Although not feeling so strong, if things go according to plan I should be able to finish with the 3.45 group. We start and follow the seaside as we run towards the old town area, with the only uphill section of the course, compensated as we head back following the same road. After only 2 miles the 3.30 group is already distancing itself.
All drinking stations have water and isotonic drinks, plus bananas and oranges. We never coincide with the 10k runners, and is easy to follow marathon development and positions. Going into the port area, that is indicated with an arch saying “Welcome to hell”, and with some “demons” cheering the runners, there is a 2 miles section, with tarmac in bad conditions and totally absent of any attraction.
Near the finish line we start the second lap. I cross the half marathon in 1.50.14, slightly slower than Badajoz, with the 3.45 group getting closer, and the first three runners lapping me. Entering the third lap, clouds break and temperature gets warmer. I tag with the 3.45 group for a couple miles, but a sudden speed change leaves most of the runners in the small group behind. Luckily there are no more laps left.
I cross the finish line in 3.48.39, just 4 second slower than in the Badajoz marathon, where I run the first half more than 4 minutes faster. I was better able to keep my pace at the second half this time around and finish 325 out of 492.
Now a short rest, as in 2 weeks I will be heading to Aveiro, in Portugal, to run its first marathon, and a week later to Lisbon, once again for its Eco marathon.