HARVEST MARATHON(S) (November 2020 – 91 & 92)

Sunset over the Duero river
Conchuela Bridge

With all the restrictions due to the perimetral confinements the fact of being able to run a marathon goes beyond expectations. It could seem enough to run “virtual” events, but not everyone finds the same motivation, specially if one is not very friendly with the running apps.

Once again Javi del Val got the lead in organising a new “artisan” Covid-19 style marathon. This time around the chosen place was Aranda de Duero, in Burgos, in a 5k course following a very quiet road. We had to run a 12k longer lap, and then 3 additional ones of 10k, starting and finishing in the old Conchuela Bridge.

For the first edition we were only 5 runners at the start. The day appeared cloudy, with some light rain in the forecast. During the first lap we run together. Not very sure that I would run this marathon, the previous week I had a long run of 30k. That was not a clever move. My legs felt the previous effort, but thanks to the nice course, and the easier second half of each lap, mainly downhill, laps went by quickly. Although I tried to finish under 4h, the last half lap wasn’t enough to recover the lost time earlier. Marathon 91 finished in 4.01.43.

The first 5 runners (edition 1)

If things had gone according to plan, on the following weekend I would have completed the Valdebebas Marathon. It was an “extra” edition for those runners that couldn´t do it the first time around on March 14th, the same day that Spain came to a total stop. We were unaware that we would be with the same situation months later, and that I couldn´t go again.

The Harvest Marathon in Aranda was going for a second edition, 3 weeks later, as Valdebebas, for the runners that couldn´t run due to travel restrictions on the previous edition. There was some debate whether was appropriate to “count” repeated marathons in the official tallies. Finally, it seemed that while these races had the requisites to enter the category of an “official” marathon (minimum of 3 participants, measured course and medal) they should be counted. There is a pandemic going around and the world is not (and may never be) the same.

So, again I was in Aranda for the second round. This time we were four runners at the start: Javi and me repeating, with Quique and David debuting. With a colder weather, but on a known course and more rested, things should go easily. Quique set a constant pace (5.26-5.27 min/km) that would get us to the half marathon in 1.54.40. The third lap was as usual the hardest, but still on pace to get under 4 hours. I have realised that a better finish is usually linked to an easier first half in the race. Thus, I managed to do my last lap the fastest and finish in 3.48.28 my marathon 92 while removing the thorn in my flesh from the previous attempt.

The final 4 runners (edition 2)

Feeling happy and thankful to Javi and his team of volunteers, it is time to rest and think about maybe fitting one last marathon to say goodbye to this ill-fated for many 2020.

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