Long-sought Atlantic Marathon, since 2017. However, something always came up so I couldn´t run it. This year the calendar was favourable, despite the problems with the registration, which I ended up doing twice (although solved later).
The marathon (or ultra?) Is 43 kilometres on sand, from Melides beach to the Troia peninsula, following the seashore. Along with the marathon there is also a short race of 15 kilometres.
Race week was complicated by the second dose of the Covid vaccine. The night from Monday to Tuesday 12h bus from Lisbon to Spain. The first dose of Moderna had no effects. The second, on Wednesday, gave me a fever (38.2°C) that barely let me sleep. With paracetamol, another 12h bus back on the night from Thursday to Friday, and still one last short training session that afternoon. Then rest and sleep as much as possible before Sunday.
At 9 o’clock in the morning and with a mild temperature and overcast skies just over 100 runners took the start. No loss possible. It is just running in a straight line with the sea on the left. With only 3 aid stations available, the Camelbak is necessary.
After the start and sweating profusely I try to find my way. The question is whether to run on the dry and soft sand, or closer to the shore, with the wetter and harder sand, although with the feet in the water continuously. Opting more for this second option I try to get an ideal pace, with little success.
Despite the beauty of the environment, the continuous sound of the sea and the endless beach, with great distances between runners, end up becoming almost hypnotic. Thus, sometimes I find myself with the water at knee level.
Without solid supplies, I use my gels and isotonic before filling my tank with water, at the control of kilometre 28. There is still much race ahead. And there is already fatigue, linked to the continuous lean to the left, especially at ankle level.
Little by little I see that the beach begins to veer to the left in the direction of Troia. However, the distances are deceptive, and the kilometres go slower than in a road marathon.
In the end, tired and with my worst time in the distance, I cross the finish line in 5.49.26, in place 134 out of 146 finishers. Filled with sand I cool off in the sea. The shoes, completely destroyed and full of sand, will stay there.
Marathon 98 achieved. Difficult due to the unknown terrain and less than optimal physical conditions. In 6 days, I have another marathon. Anyhow, If I go back to this Troia-Melides race, I will possibly do it barefoot.