Course of the Valencia Marathon 2020

Like so many other marathons at world level, the 2020 Valencia marathon has had its agenda altered by the Covid-19. As with London and Tokyo previously, Valencia has decided to limit participation to “elite” athletes.

With so few marathons available, and offering a fast course, the 2020 Valencia marathon has taken on a prominent role at the end of the year. Many runners have set this marathon as their goal for the season, seeking their Olympic minimum to attend the most important event next year: the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

We already had our experience in the Valencia marathon, where we ran for the first time in 2010. At that time, it was still held in February and it was not so popular. A few more than 3000 runners finished, far from the figures currently achieved. In that edition we achieved our PB, and we still returned in the 2013 and 2017 editions.

But let’s go to the data of interest:

The race: will take place on Sunday, December 6. The marathon will start at 8:30 am, and the half marathon at 8:00 am. Both tests will share route, without public to comply with health measures, but with television signal.

The route: this year a 21k route has been chosen, instead of the 42k route of other editions. The start and finish line will continue to be in the City of Arts and Sciences (see image of the route).

Awards: they will go hand in hand with the quality achieved. The male winner of the marathon would win between 35 and 75 thousand euros, depending on whether he achieves a mark over 2.06.00 (2.22.00 for women) or under 2.05.00 (or 2.20.30 for women). A margin of just one minute makes a difference of 40 thousand euros! 

Different “bonuses” could be added on top of this prize. This bonus could be of 40 thousand euros with a finishing time below 2.03.30 in men or 2.18.00 in women.

  • And for the Spanish? The first five athletes licensed by the RFEA will have exclusive cash prizes, ranging between 5,000 and 800€.
  • And what about the Valencian@s? The first three athletes licensed by the Valencian Community Federation (FCAV) will receive between € 2000 and € 750.

(Both prizes for Spanish/Valencians athletes will only be valid with times lower than 2.20.00 in men and 2.45.00 in women)

There are also bonuses for breaking the following records:

  • Valencia Marathon: € 30,000 (2.03.51 men and 2.18.30 women)
  • Spanish record: € 25,000 (2.06.52 men and 2.26.51 women)
  • World record: € 250,000 (2.01.39 men and 2.14.04 women)

The runners: 218 athletes are confirmed to compete in Valencia next December 6 between both distances and categories.

Regarding the marathon, there will be more than 100 runners from 43 countries who will try to get their ticket for Tokyo 2021. To do this they have two options, neither of them easy:

  • Option 1: run faster than 2.11.30 in men and 2.29.30 in women.
  • Option 2: qualify in the top-10 in a Platinum World Athletics race, such as Valencia.
Some of the favourites and Spanish men

On the international scene:

  • In the male category, up to 35 runners have PBs below 2.10.00. Among them we would highlight the powerful Ethiopian team with Birhanu Legese (2.02.48, third best mark in history); Kinde Atanaw (2.03.51, winner in Valencia 2019), Leul Gebreselasie (2.04.02, winner in Valencia 2018) and Lelisa Desisa (2.04.45, world distance champion in Doha 2019). Besides them we should find in the first positions the Kenyan Lawrence Cherono (2.04.06) and the Turkish Kaan Kigen Özbilen (2.04.16, European marathon record).
  • In the female category, quality is also high, with 28 women scoring with PBs below 2.30.00. The powerful Ethiopian squad is even more superior than in the men’s category, with Ruti Aga (2.18.34), Birhane Dibaba (2.18.35), Degitu Azemiraw (2.19.26), Zeineba Yimer (2.19.28) or Tigist Girma (2.19 .52) with clear chances of victory. Among the Kenyan Joyciline Kepkosgei (2.22.38) is their best runner.

On the national scene:

  • In male category and with PBs below 2.10.00 we would highlight Hamid Ben Daoud (2.07.33), Ayad Lamdassem (2.09.28) and Iván Fernández Anaya (2.09.55).
  • In the female category, we would highlight Nuria Galimany (2.29.02), who recently broke the national record for the hour on the track (17,210 meters), and Elena Loyo (2.30.57), an athlete trained by Martín Fiz and who will also fight to obtain the Olympic minimum.
  • Nor should we forget the Paralympic athletes Alberto Suárez (2.21.47), Gustavo Nieves (2.26.47) and Mari Carmen Paredes (2.59.22).

Everything is ready for the athletes to return to the streets of Valencia. The extensive roster of elite athletes will somehow make up for the absence of popular runners.

Some of the favourites and Spanish women

Our bets:

  • Spanish record of Hamid Ben Daoud, around 2.06.40.
  • Victory for Kenyan athlete Lawrence Cherono in the men’s category, without a world record, which would add Valencia to his victories in Boston and Chicago 2019.
  • In the women’s category the victory is very open, but we would bet on the Ethiopian Ruti Aga, who would be able to make up for her DNF in the Tokyo marathon this year.

Do you agree with our bets? Otherwise, what would be yours?

We will enjoy watching the race, which will be the last important marathon of this uncommon 2020. Hopefully next year things will get back on track and we will all be able to compete again.

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