Pros: registration fee for Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC); good and personal care for the runners from the organisation; big potential for following years.
Cons: no chip-timing, that probably will be solved by next edition; lack of storage space.
Continuing with the purpose of collecting marathons, this would be my first in the autonomous region of Castilla la Mancha. I had worked in Albacete more than a decade ago, but never run a race here.
Going for its second edition I knew about it in the Valdebebas marathon, back in March, and registered immediately. I have always liked night marathons, but no so much the multi-laps ones. Held at the end of June it looked as the perfect race to enter the summer break. With hot conditions there are no many marathons available in the calendar, or they interfere with holidays.
Traveling to Almagro requires some organisation but having train connections with Madrid always facilitates the process. If the marathon is not for you, you can opt for a half marathon, or be part of a relay for the marathon.
The race course is a 3k triangle following an illuminated and perfectly paved Eco Path in the outskirts of Almagro. For the marathon are necessary 14 laps, and 7 for the half. The loop has 3 different sections: the first with trees, a second following a fence, and a third just entering the village. Start and finish line are in the same place, as it is the stand with water and provisions.
For a 22.00 start, with 27-28°C, there are about 40 runners for the full distance, and twice as many for the half marathon. Among the marathon runners there are some familiar faces (Quique, Pepe, Santi, Txema, Antonio…). These low-key races far from the crowded ones are often a chance to meet friends.
From start, front runners go ahead quickly. I get installed in a small group, but after the first lap they go ahead. From the second lap onwards I will run alone, drinking often because of the high temperatures, and planning my energy gels for laps 3 and 6, and then every two laps, in 8, 10 and 12.
I like the course, and laps start adding. After the 6th, I am doubled by the four runners in front, who are considerably ahead. The half marathon goes in 1.51.20. Seven more laps and I will be on holidays. I only need to keep the pace and is done. With less runners in the course, sometimes is difficult to see anyone besides the animated group in the finish area.
Although not feeling very tired, pace decays in the second half. I cross the finish line in 3.55.20, a time very similar to the last 2 marathons. After a quick shower I get back to the finish area to welcome the last runners.
Marathon number 10 of the year, only 3 behind the 13 I run in 2018, and a whole 6 months ahead. Nevertheless, summer is probably marathon free. Time to rest, get back to a proper training cycle, and some shorter races to improve on my strength and speed.
Thanks to Miguel Ángel for the organising effort, and a recommendation to visit the Theatre Museum and the “Corral de Comedias” in Almagro, and if your available time is longer, the National Park of the “Tablas de Daimiel”.