MARATHON 125: ALMAGRO (21/01/2024)

Family marathon if you could say so, which has taken its place on the calendar, with an increasing number of participants and exquisite treatment for the runners. Every detail taken care of, from the runner’s bag to its post-race meal. A marathon organized by a marathoner (Miguel Ángel) for marathoners.

Having already run in 2019 and 2022, and with a free bib thanks to Quique, there was no reason to skip Almagro and its marathon. Furthermore, thanks to the “official” hotel El Retiro del Maestre we could check out until 15.00, which is always welcomed to take a no stress shower after a race.

We were traveling by car on Saturday, without much hurry, to visit some of the mills on the Don Quixote Route. Many times, one crosses La Mancha in a hurry towards other places, overlooking what this has to offer.

Arriving in Almagro in the afternoon, we took advantage of the good weather to take a walk through its quiet streets and pick up our runner’s bib number and bag at the Town Hall.

In the morning, with about 5⁰C, it is a short walk to the starting area, where runners are already gathering under the starting arch. And there are many familiar faces. A team of marathon runners who would like to have other more established marathons. A sign that things are being done well. And for those who do not dare to do the 42k, they can also be done in teams of 2.

After some group photos to mark the occasion in our memories (largely digital), we leave on time, to run and “adjustment” short lap, necessary to get the total distance right. The temperature is cool, although not as cold as other times.

After this first “adjustment” detour, we begin with the course itself. We will have enough time to get familiar. It takes 14 laps to complete the 42 kilometres.

Without pacers, it is a matter of adjusting the time of each lap. Already finishing the second I am dubbed for the first time. Running on feelings, without looking at the clock much, I align soon with Lola, still knowing that her endings are much stronger than mine. I continue with her until lap 6, close to the halfway point of the race. Sensations are not too good, as could be expected given the last weeks of training.

After lap 8, with people already waiting for me at the finish line, I speed up the pace. It’s a matter of continuing to complete laps and subtracting from those that remain.

With supplies available on each lap, I alternate the gels on the even laps, with the isotonic drink on the odd laps. In the end, the marathon, like so many other things in life, is a succession of routines, and many obsessions too.

Ruling out improving my 3h42m here in 2022, I see that it will be a matter of aiming to lower the 4 hours threshold. Finally, I cross the finish line in 3.55.29, led by TK, in 67th position out of 110 participants.

I still have time to take a shower and come back to taste the migas, which I had never tried, and buy some local products to enjoy more calmly at home and help the local economy.

Marathon 125 completed, with the feeling of having done “half” of the homework. For some unfounded reason, it seems like my ultimate horizon could be one day reach the 250 marathons.

The next stop could have been Marrakech, Murcia or Seville, although at the time of writing these lines they have already been ruled out, predicting a blank marathon month of February, although busy with others, less pleasant tasks.

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