MARATHON 120: RIO BOEDO (20/08/2023-Bascones de Ojeda, SPAIN)

For years, I had heard about this marathon, especially after participating several times in the Aguilar de Campoo marathon, also organized by Gabriel, until its last edition in 2019. Then, Covid came, and it was another race disappearing.

Due to its timing, this marathon usually was during my holidays. Consequently, being far away, I couldn´t participate. However, this year things were different, and it was my chance to debut in the Río Boedo, for my 120th marathon.

On Sunday morning, it is an early wake-up to join Gorriti and a friend on their way to Bascones de Ojeda, in the north of Palencia. They are regulars of this race, as are most of the participants who gather there.

I learn on the way there that the village has been fully supportive of the event for years, as it has been going on for more than 20 editions. With 138 registered residents, the village take advantage of their festivities to embrace this challenge, always with Gabriel, his family and a few friends at the centre stage.

With a short saxophone play, just after 8 o’clock, the 40 runners who had gathered there set off. Many familiar faces of the regular marathon runners who “pilgrimage” to Bascones year after year. Strange that a free marathon where they treat you like family can´t congregate more runners. But perhaps that’s the secret of its spirit.

The course consists of 3 loops, mostly on dirt roads, all the way to the village of Collazos de Boedo. That’s where we encounter one of the most challenging sections, with a rocky path that will bring us back towards Bascones.

With temperatures rising quickly, it’s a race for those who love running solo. However, it’s not a problem for me as I’m used to training alone. The laps go by, and I try to stay hydrated the best  I can. Approaching the last lap, I see the possibility of achieving another sub-4-hour finish.

In the end, I cross the finish line in 3.54.02, securing the 15th position out of 43 finishers.

In the words of another runner: “If there’s an iconic marathon, it’s the New York Marathon. If there’s a marathon that truly crowns you as a marathoner, it’s probably the Rio Boedo.”

After adding this marathon to my list of achievements, it’s time to think about new endeavours. Autumn always brings opportunities to collect more marathon medals.

See you at marathon number 121.

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