As we know well the Covid-19 pandemic has had disastrous effects on sports and racing calendars across the world. Firstly, marathons were delayed to later dates, when we all thought that things could be luckily sorted sooner. But reality always surprises us, and finally most marathons and races in this 2020 have finally cancelled or delayed until next year.
During August, and feeling the lack of objectives, I decided to run a marathon to celebrate my birthday. At the end I finished running 44 kilometres (15.5 laps) in the Campo Grande park, Lisbon. I thought about repeating the experience in Valladolid (Spain) on September 8th, a local holiday date, following an easy course of 4.2k. I talked about it with my lively friend Quique Benito, and then he did the same with Pepe Turón. No more was needed to sow the seed of the Pisuerga MIV (Marathon Independent of Valladolid) marathon. It would serve as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first marathon run in Valladolid, in September 1980, and the first marathon for Pepe when he was only 17.
Considering the restrictions to the sports practice, that were hardened even more just days before the race, it was decided to keep the number of participants very limited, and do it in 2 rounds, first one on Saturday 5th (13 runners), also divided in two waves, at 8.00 and 9.00, and next one on Sunday 6th (2 runners) at 8.38. Doing so ensured enough social distance along the course, which followed the riverside of the Pisuerga river, in the Ribera de Castilla Park. A bit over 2k we had to run 20.5 laps to complete the marathon distance, a course with some sections in common with the traditional “Cross de las 12 Uvas”, that traditionally closes the calendar year in Valladolid on December 31st.
I was supposed to help with the organization details, but being out of Valladolid until Saturday evening, all details of the organisation, course measurement, drinks, runner bags and so on were shared between Pepe and Quique. Without their effot this marathon would have never taken place.
On Sunday only Pepe and I were running, with Quique in assistance duties. It was a great personal experience, as the race started and finished just 500 metres from my home and followed the paths of the park where I started running in February of a distant 1991. Impossible to recount how many training sessions I have done in the Ribera de Castilla Park during the years.
Knowing that surfacing roots had caused some falls on the previous day, I took extra care with them. The course was demanding, but after so long without competition, I enjoyed pretty much every lap on the course. Race finished in 4.14.51, not a very good time, although in a demanding cross course and avoiding any fall. And more importantly, another great marathon experience added.
The later talks in the finish area promised more independent races ahead. A hopeful thought floats in the air suggesting that we may be at the beginning of the end of these hard times.
See you soon!