Starting area

This time around Javi del Val with three collaborators organised another Covid-19 style marathon. Only 10 participants, most of them well-known faces (David, Lola, Txema, Quique and so on), with all the measures, following the Vía Verde in Burgos, a reconditioned old rail track. From Burgos you can follow the trail for 51 kms. You can find more information and itineraries in the link

The marathon course consisted of two laps, from below the elevated section of the road Madrid-Irún, just in the outskirts of Burgos, to one kilometre further than Modúbar village and back. At the start there was a first 3 kms section of tarmac, the rest in loose stone paths, including a 600 metres section, of an unilluminated tunnel that should be run four times. Not a very flat course, there were 3 drinking stations separated approximately 5 kms.

The runners start

Starting at 8.00, the weather forecast ensured some rain in the second half of the race. After the tarmac section 2 groups are clear. The heading group with 4 runners are going much faster than the remaining ones.

The green course offered some eye-catching and welcome entertainment, very different to the city-focused marathons. But also, it is necessary to keep an eye on the treacherous floor and run “with faith” in the tunnelled section.

Finishing the first lap it starts raining lightly, although it doesn´t bother too much. Crossing the half marathon in 9th position in 1.58.30 there is still a slight chance of getting a sub 4 hours marathon, if I don´t break down in the second half as is often the case. This time around I have intercalated a normal gel with a caffeine one, trying to help in keeping a better rhythm, and gone from the usual 5 to 6 gels.

For fans of the data, total consumption of carbohydrates is about 175 g plus 300 mg of caffeine after the first hour of competition. The average is 60 g of carbohydrates and 100 mg caffeine per hour.

Tarmac section of the Vía Verde

During the last quarter of the race it is time to increase the pace. Maybe the gels are doing the trick, as I slowly start recovering positions. Entering the tunnel, I am 5th, although the difference with Quique, who is 4th is insurmountable. From that point on is the easiest part, downhill and with the last 3 kms in the tarmac section until the finish line.

Finally, I finish in 3.55.06, even better than expected, to get the marathon number 90, on the same day that Quique Benito get to his 50th, and enters in his own right on the ranking list of Spanish marathoners (

While we wait for races to get back to normal, these low-key marathons are fulfilling with high note the gap. After having gone from marathon 50 to 90 in a bit less than 4 years, we enter the final countdown.

Running Bib
Old train crossing

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