Returning to the marathon in Castelló was returning to the last “normal” race, without masks, which I ran before Covid-19, back in February 2020.
Unable to run the Murcia marathon because of its date, and with no registrations available in Sevilla, Castelló stood as the best marathon option for February. What I didn´t realised was how complicated the trip from Valladolid was, especially to return. Last time I had flown from Lisbon to Valencia. For the outward journey I was lucky enough to have a direct train, which left me in Castelló just 40 minutes before the closure of the running expo. Just enough time to pick up the running bib at the expo, where the stands were already being removed, and go buy some supplies for breakfast.
After a short tour of the city, I retire early to rest. With the hotel next to Parque Ribalta, the start and finish area, I just need to get down a few minutes before to get into my finishing time box and join the rest of the participants. There are two distances, a 10k, starting at 900, and the marathon, starting at 9:15.
With an ideal temperature for running and partially cloudy skies, we go punctual for the 42k, through a completely urban and flat circuit, which we will do two laps.
For the initial segment I keep the 3h30m group in sight. I cross the 10k in 51.12, and the half marathon in 1.48.37. With half of the work done, the question is to see how slower I will run the second half of the race. A bit behind are coming Lola, David, Pepe, Txema and company.
Well supplied, the drinking stations are many, and an example of efficacy and good organization. Thus, the World Athletics label.
On the second lap through the port area, the Sun makes its appearance, adding a bit more heat. Slower, and with about 5 kilometers to finish, I am overtaken by the 3h45m group. Nevertheless there is no much left and I can still try to improve the 3.49.46 of the 2020 edition.
Finally I reach the finish line with a net time of 3.47.29 (official 3.47.56), after spending 11 minutes more in the second half than in the first. I have just enough time to go to the hotel, take a quick shower and meet David, who takes me to Madrid by car, avoiding me a whole set of trains. Renfe’s 5% discount for runners isn’t much when they ask for €120 just to get from Valencia to Madrid.
Perfectly organized race, in which the Kenyan Yalemzerf Yahualaw, with 29.14, also smashed the 10k women’s world record. With this one, it is the second race in which we run, where a world record is broken, after the 2014 Berlin marathon.
Seven days to recover before the next marathon, in Bilbao…