Pros: faultless organisation; trail scenery; start/finish line in central Lisbon.
Cons: none I can think of.
Back again for the fourth time to this marathon, once it looks stable in the calendar. I went for a very early registration, almost one year in advance, getting a reduced-price tag of 24€.
As I described in last year report, the whole race is in the Monsanto Park in Lisbon, an uncommon chance of running a trail marathon without leaving the town. Course is one lap, and although some sections are followed twice, it doesn´t feel repetitive.
This year, and besides the half marathon and 12k race, is also offered a 3.5k walk, in collaboration with the ReFood organization, which tries to avoid food waste in cities, giving a second chance to still perfectly usable food to be consumed by people in need.
With only one week to rest from last weekend marathon, I went for a recovery week, with one swimming session on Wednesday and one light running (7k) on Thursday. On Saturday I got a soothing Chinese traditional massage to get into competition mood again.
Race starts at 8.30 at the top of the Eduardo VII park, with a warm morning ahead. The first section is downhill following a bike lane as we head towards Monsanto. Once we enter the park, most of the race will alternate between roads and unpaved tracks, undulating continuously. Abundant trees offer a helpful cover of the sun in most sections, and a relaxing view.
Carrying my own backpack and isotonic drink, I skip the first water stations. Later, I will alternate drinks, as the one liter I carry is not enough to get me to the finish line. All stations are well marshalled and have water and isotonic drink. More into the race they also offer fruits and energy gels. We cross some roads with traffic, but they are well controlled and there is no need to stop.
The recovery week seems to have done well for me, as I don´t feel as tired as last weekend. A trail marathon requires a different approach to a road one. Course may be more difficult, but there is not the same pressure of a road marathon, where you usually feel the need of achievement. In road marathons are usually important times, and how you pace yourself for a personal best, a season best, or get under that barrier. In a trail marathon is about achievement, enjoyment and obviously also finishing.
Race goes on swiftly, and I start recovering places from halfway onwards. Once in the bike lane for the last three kilometers to the finish line there is still a last uphill section, which I walked last year, and I can run today. Legs are tired, but not as punished as in other road races by this point.
I cross the finish line in a 4.24.13 and 41 position of 123 finishers. Not my PB on this race, but a good result to make me happy. If you got here, thanks for reading and see you soon.