LISBON MARATHON (17/10/2021 – 102)

Race start

We revisited the Lisbon Marathon for the fourth time after a 3-year absence, and after it abandoned the Marathon Rock n’Roll Marathon Series. Doing the consecutive marathons in Madrid and Logroño, 2 weeks of rest seemed enough time to recover.

The bib-number collection at the runner’s expo was, as on previous occasions, at the Altice Arena, in the Expo area. Despite its size, there are absolutely no other stands. Along with the marathon, there are also a half-marathon and 8.5-kilometer mini-marathon races, and even a 4-kilometer family walk. Unlike other events, here in Lisbon the marathon and half marathon have separate routes and starting areas. Al events only converge in the finish area.

As before, the start of the marathon is in Cascais, with the finish line at Praça do Comércio, although previously it ended in the Expo area. The organization offers the train trip from Lisbon to Cascais for the departure, as well as the use of the entire Lisbon transport system for free, showing only the bib-number, something that other cities, such as Madrid, should apply.

With departure at 8.00, it is time to get up early. Weather forecast is more benevolent than previous days: a milder temperature, with a maximum of 23⁰C and overcast skies. I arrive in Cascais around 7.15. It has not yet dawned, but in the starting area the nervousness of the race is in the air. Half of the runners are foreigners, which makes this marathon a multinational event.

Ready

Despite the indications to wear mask to enter the designated starting areas, only some of us wear it (and distances are not respected much either). In this regard, Mapoma, by comparison in terms of the number of runners, was much stricter.

After the start, we leave Cascais towards the Guincho beach, in the opposite direction to Lisbon, until kilometre 7 of the race, where we will turn around. The sky is completely covered, and the temperature is mild for running, although without a breath of breeze to cool us off.

Running quite fast (for me), I cross kilometre 5 in just 25 minutes, mainly uphill. Last week’s workouts had gone well, although my legs now feel differently.

After the turnaround, we come across runners going already in the opposite direction. There I see Lolo, with the 3h group. From this point on, the marathon will keep the same direction, first returning to Cascais and then following the seashore and the Tagus to Lisbon.

Not without suffering, I cross the half marathon in just over 1h53m. There is still half the race left and it is already feeling long… I just dedicate myself to subtracting the kilometres towards the finish line, trying to keep up the pace to get under 4 hours. Remaining 10k, I still have a little more than 1 hour to spare. From the Champalimaud there are about 8 kilometres, on a route already known, because of many training sessions and passing through some of the most touristy points of Lisbon.

Until kilometre 35 I hold the pace, although I can already feel the option of 4 hours eluding me, especially when the 4h00m group catches me and I cannot do anything to get in their wake, despite the encouragement of his pacer…

Throwing in the towel, as one might say in boxing terms, I reach the finish line with more pain than glory, with a net time of 4.05.17, for my worst record in the Portuguese capital.

Praça do Comércio (finish area)

Sometimes you enjoy the distance from Pheidippides, and sometimes you don´t, as has been the case for a race in which I have suffered more than usual. Each race is different, and you can always learn something new from them.

Next stop: predictably Badajoz, on November 7.

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