GERES EXTREME MARATHON (05/12/21 – 103)

After the incredible experience of 2019, the opportunity to compete again in Geres decided the balance against the other option that I had considered, Lanzarote, a race still in my to-do list after it was cancelled in 2014.

Once again it was organized by the Carlos Sá Nature Events, a company that has specialized in long-distance and multi-day races, especially trails. In the case of Geres, the weekend is complete of races with many distances: from 90k to a vertical mile, with half marathon, 32 and 14k races. One for everyone, with tough courses on asphalt.

On this occasion weather is more benevolent: a bit cold, but without rain in the forecast. Taking advantage of the close accommodation, it is a 5 minutes’ walk to reach the start area. The marathoners are ready to go at 9.00. The presence of Quique and Pepe is missing, absent on this edition.

Once the race starts, and after a small lap around the village, it is time for the first uphill section. Aware of what must come, I take things easier than on the previous occasion. This ascent gets us to the first drink station around kilometre 7. It has been almost 550 meters of ascension that we have mostly to descent now. Then I realised that I forgot to activate my chronometer. Therefore, I will have to run on feelings and approximate step times.

After coming down from the first mountain is time to ascend the next one, and then the next one, and so on. I had forgotten how tough this race was. It’s curious how we end up blocking the hardest bits, to keep only the positive ones.

At a drink station I ask a runner carrying a GPS how many kilometres we have run: a little more than 29 in about 3h and 15 minutes of race. With the worst of the race done, and considering that the last 8 kilometres are downhill, it is feasible to improve the 2019 mark from 4.31.31. Thus, the specific training sessions of the last weeks, with uphill sections and ladders, would be productive.

Completing the last ascent, you reach the Miradouro de las Curvas de Sao Bento. It is the downward section from there that offers the best views. With the legs quite well, it seems that the energy management has been the appropriate. Going down in cruise mode I get to the surroundings of Geres, where a small tour directs me towards the finish line.

Crossing the finish line without knowing the time, I calculate it about 4h25m. With the classification in hand my official time is 4.24.16 (maybe a few seconds less in net time). Considerably improving my PB in this race I finish 142 out of 270 finalists.

With Geres I finish my marathon number 10, and predictably last, of 2021. Next few weeks I may run some San Silvestre and start preparing to face 2022. Next year, if Covid-19 allows it, the marathon calendar may return to normality.

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