LOGROÑO MARATHON (03/10/2021 – 101)

Ferrer Sport, for runner bib collection

Hesitating between the Logroño and Ibiza marathons for the first weekend in October, I opted for the first one for logistical reasons, with the chance of going to the Palma de Mallorca marathon on the following weekend (which in the end I had to discard).

After a bus trip of more than 4 hours, I arrive to Logroño in the afternoon. After a short break I head to Ferrer Sport to collect my runner bag. Chema Martínez is also there, presenting his latest book. From the short list of marathon participants, it seems that there will be only 70-80 for the 42k, with many more enrolled in the other two distances available: the half marathon and 10k.

The start and finish of the two long races is in El Espolón at 9.00, with weather forecast ensuring rain from 8 to 14. Although I go to rest early, the accommodation, close to the start, but also in a party area, does not allow me for a very restful night.

With noise outside until 5 in the morning, I am awake and prepared early. Raining heavily since 8, I leave just in time to leave my backpack at the starting area. Sheltered like so many runners under a nearby arcade, we reluctantly move to the starting line just before the race start.

El Espolón: start and finish area

There I coincide with Txema, whom I had not seen since the Covid truncated calendars a year and a half ago. Looking forward to his reunion with the marathon, we go out together, close to the 3h30m pacer, although we soon let it go.

The first kilometres go quickly as we move away from the centre of Logroño towards peripheral neighbourhoods. As they say out there… the kilometres speaking “do not count.” On a slope around kilometre 16 I let Txema go. From this point onwards there are a few slope mores, one of them a tunnel, and another just facing the last meters towards the finish line. The half marathon goes in 1.55.46, not too bad after the Mapoma from the previous week.

Finishing the first lap

If firstly there was rain, secondly is rain and loneliness. Once the runners of the half marathon are out, the distances between the remaining runners stretch for long. Around the 24k, I find the 3-hour pacer running back. Surely, left alone, has decided to finish his race.

From that point onward I feel better and recover some positions. Or maybe going from more to less I’m still better than the others. First, I catch the second classified female, and with 5 kilometres remaining I see Txema far away.

Chasing others is more fun than being chased. I catch him around the 39k. We only must cross a bridge and head back towards the city centre.

Finally, I cross the finish line in a net time of 3.59.34, with Txema a few seconds later, also entering below the 4h barrier. Position 40 out of 62 finishers. It is only a short walk to the excellent facilities available to take a shower, that were missing in Madrid (as was the cloakroom service).

Marathon 101 on my account, and eighth in 2021. Next stop, Lisbon in 2 weeks, to repeat for a fourth time, after 4 years of absence.

The bridge of the 37k
Wet and tired, but finishers

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