Score: 5 / 5
Pros: flat course; good parking facilities.
Cons: none we can think of.
Castelló marathon was celebrating its 10th anniversary, and it seemed as a good occasion to try it. There are only marathon and 10k distances, with the half marathon absent. This year also it was recognised with the bronze label from World Athletics.
Arriving to Castelló usually involves traveling through Valencia, that has better connections. With frequent trains between them you can visit both places in the same trip.
The running expo is in La Pergola, a sport facility just in the start/finish area. I delay my visit until Saturday evening, although taking the bib number and kit is quick. There is still time for a short walk in Castelló city centre and get dinner.
The morning appears cloudy and with an ideal temperature of 11°C. The marathon start is scheduled for 9.00, and the 10k only 1 minute later. The broad avenue allows for segregated starting areas, good point in order to avoid confusion during the first kilometres.
Murcia marathon was only 2 weeks behind, and I run it after recovering from a flu. Therefore, the training period had been easy. Still coming back from the first marathon, and the second was already in sight. Having finished in 3.53 in Murcia, I decide to risk and align with the 3.30 group. A good way to prove the point we treated in a previous entry, about risk-taking attitudes and the relation with better achievements.
With a lot of runners going for the marathon distance (around 1000), the 3.30 group is very large at this stage. As probably many of you have experienced, running in large groups is risky. More chances to trip on another runner, especially when some are changing positions constantly. Usually I skip the first drinking station in marathons, as they are also a chaotic point. Luckily, I avoid falling, although I don´t need to worry from the 10k. In the drinking station I start falling behind. Unable to continue with the group, I continue at a good pace until the half marathon, that I cross in 1.47.56.
From the midway point I start feeling more tired. Not at my best the second half of the race is everything about finishing. With my times moving away from my desired target, the 3.45 group also surpasses me. Clearly the second half of the race is slower than the first.
Through the last kilometres there is more public in the streets, as we come back to the city centre. The applauses are always welcomed, but especially during the closing stages of races, when the energy is low, and you try to use every little help available.
I cross the finish line in 3.50.05 (net time of 3.49.46), position 630 of 967 finishers. My second half took a full 12 minutes more than the first. Nevertheless, it is early in the season and a lot more races are still to come.
Thanks for reading.