Start area

Being near Vitoria and having run its marathon in 2004, for one reason or another, it’s a race I hadn’t returned to. Usually, it coincided with the Eco-Lisbon Marathon. However, this year I took the opportunity to revisit a race of which I barely had any memories.

Arriving on Saturday around lunchtime, we have some time to kill before heading to El Boulevard Shopping Center to pick up the race bib. For some reason, bib collection isn’t done continuously, and I’m not sure why because there was no race expo or anything similar, just a small booth on the second floor of the mall.

With the race bag and bib in hand, and with rain in the forecast, it’s time to take the opportunity to visit the historic city center before retiring early to rest.

On race day, with rainiy overcast and a few drops already falling, I head to the Mendizorroza area, where the start and finish lines are located. Alongside the marathon, there will also be a half marathon and a 10k race taking place simultaneously. I leave my backpack at the last moment to avoid getting cold. It’s about 10°C.

Without any corrals or separation between the different races, around 2,500 runners set off at 9:00. These first moments are not easy, not only due to the crowds but also because the route at this point doesn’t follow wide streets.

Shortly after starting, I have to make a brief stop to tie a shoelace. A rookie mistake not to have checked that it was properly tied. It’s not much of an inconvenience, though, and I quickly get back to my pace.

Not far from the times of my previous marathons, I manage to reach the half marathon mark in 1.53.04. It’s time to go for the second lap, which largely follows the same route of the first.

Amid intermittent downpours that make difficult to run as comfortably as one could, especially for those of us who perform better in milder temperatures, I slowly see the kilometers go by. With  fewer runners on the course, I try to overtake as many as possible.

Finally, I reach the finish line at a good pace, with a net time of 3.47.58.

The worst part is not the exhaustion from the race or finishing soaked, but rather finding out after collecting the clothes that most of them are wet, because the backpacks weren’t adequately protected outside.

Things shouldn’t be done like this, Martín Fiz. In a marathon that has reached its twentieth edition, these details could have been taken into account, especially when there is no shortage of sports facilities or more iconic locations for bib collection.

We’ll consider whether it’s worth repeating next year.

Runners expo (kind of)

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