Aguilar de Campoo Marathon (03/06/18 – 68)

After my first experience in this marathon last year, I had already clearly in mind that I would try to come back again, as it just happened. Aguilar de Campoo is a village in the north of Palencia, popular because of its many biscuit factories (Gullón and Siro among the most popular ones), and holding this year “Las Edades del Hombre”, a popular itinerant exhibition that shows some of the best religious art of Castile and Leon, under the “Mons Dei” running title, that takes place (partially) in the church of San Miguel, on which lateral the finish/start line will be located.

Things got complicated after my last marathon 4 weeks ago. On the same day I did my first recovery training, but only getting up from a chair, I felt a strain on my left thigh. Although I thought that it wouldn´t go anywhere, next morning I have difficulties stretching the leg. Diagnosis: muscular strain of the upper quadriceps. After one-week rest, and treated properly with ice, compression and some anti-inflammatory gel, I do a full recovery, with 2 weeks left before race day.

This marathon is mainly a one-man effort. Thanks to Gabriel Ruiz García the race is already celebrating its 21st edition. Without any big sponsors, he is the one that proceeds with registration, trophies, gifts, controlling times and even installing the podium and finish area himself with the help of some volunteers. He is clearly the soul of the race. And everything for a marathon that offers FREE registration.  The number of participants, surprisingly, hardly goes beyond 30.  This year the entrants list counts with 25 runners, but among them some of the most experienced “amateur” marathoners in Spain.

In a friendly, and almost intimate start at 9am, 14°C and a forecast of electric storms in the afternoon, the course will leave Aguilar from behind the church, towards the biscuit factories for a first small lap. Once we finish this introductory lap and back in the church, there are another 5 long laps to complete the marathon distance, that will take us outside Aguilar, towards the tiny village of Villallano, where we will turn around following the same road, which allows to keep the race controlled, as every runner meets the other ones a few times every lap. I try to keep the first runners in sight, and even get to a momentary 5th place, but I quickly go down to an 8-9th position. The runner in the lead keeps opening the gap with the chasing runners behind, a difference that will become definitive. I am not feeling fully charged, with the last weeks overwork taking the edge from me, on top of my only 2 weeks of training. Just as I finish the 3rd lap, the leader is just finishing his 4th. As I go from my 4th lap onwards I start losing positions, unable to keep the punch that got me to my season best last year (3.35.18) on the same course. The last lap is an effort to avoid the 4 hours barrier, that I finally attain in 3.59.16, and a 13th position out of 24. Finishing more than 20 minutes behind last year offers a sour taste, although the camaraderie soon erases these feelings.

With the summer season around the corner, and not a clear marathon in sight in the immediate future, it seems as the ideal time to get shorter races and start planning the autumn season.


Score: 5 (out of 5)

Pros: atmosphere; free registration; trophies for everyone (plus biscuits, cereals and cakes); sometimes one-man effort can achieve much

Cons: local council organising another race on the same day

Towards finish line
Start & finish area
San Miguel church


With Pierre de Coubertin leading the efforts to revive the Olympic Games, in 1894 was decided that they would take place in Greece in 1896. The marathon, although previously inexistent as an athletic race, was proposed by Michel Bréal, and introduced in the calendar as a way of remembering the legendary effort of Philippides, the Greek messenger that run from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persian Empire in the battle of Marathon. 

In Greece, the Coronel Papadiamantopoulos was elected responsible of the qualifying races that would decide the Greek Marathon Olympic team. He had been the commanding officer of Spyridon while doing his military service, and already knowing his running capabilities, convinced him to run on one of these trials. On the second of them he finished fifth (with the winner in 3.18), gaining him a place in the Greek Olympic team, and later in marathon history.

Spyridon came from a humble family. By the time of the Olympics he was 24, and worked in the family business carrying fresh water to Athens. On April 10, 1896, wearing shoes donated by his fellow villagers, was among the 17 runners (13 of them Greek) to start in Marathon, for a race that would take them to the Olympic Stadium, in Athens, nearly 25 miles away. The French Albin Lermusiaux, who had finished third in the 1500m, took a strong lead from start that would last well beyond the halfway point, when he let the Australian Edwin Flack, which had already won the 800 and 1500m a few days earlier, in the lead. Meanwhile, Spyridon, that had stopped in the small village of Pikermi for a refreshment (a glass of wine, or cognac, depending on the sources) predicted that he would overcome those in front of him. Flack, that was unused to run such long distances, began to slow down, and being only 2 miles away from the finish line collapsed. In a delirious state, in which he even punched a spectator who tried to help, he abandoned the race, allowing Spyridon to take a lead what would become definitive.

At the same time this was developing, the crowd in the stadium was depressed as the last news available put the Australian in the front. When a messenger brought the news that Spyridon was in the lead, the whole stadium started shouting “Hellene, Hellene”, as for Greece. The apotheosis of Spyridon entrance into the stadium got people on their feet for a last lap, stopping the clock in 2.58.50, seven minutes ahead of the next competitor. As he recalled years later everybody started calling out his name and throwing flowers. The first legend in the marathon epic was born.

Spyridon saved the Greek honor in the first modern Olympic Games, and consequently became a national hero on his own right. He was offered a wish by the King of Greece, and modestly he only chose a donkey and a carriage to help carrying water in the family business.  He retired from running immediately after the race, and went back to his simple life. Many years later he was honoured as flagbearer of the Greek team in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, where he presented an olive branch from Olympia, birthplace of the Olympics, to Hitler, as a symbol of peace. That would become his last public appearance before dying in 1940.

The Olympic Stadium in Athens is nowadays carrying his name, and entered the greek language, as the expression “yinomai Louis” is used to talk about “disappearing rapidly”.

Sourced from:


Pictures in the public domain, used under Creative Commons Licence.

In Greece 1896
In Berlin 1936

Solar protection: ISDIN Fusion Gel (Sport)

Packaging front
Packaging back

With the summer around the corner and longer days, it is important to get UV protection, especially if you can only do your training or competition under the sunlight (but also in cloudy conditions). A solar protector will keep your skin healthier and younger, and prevent associated diseases, as skin cancer.

If it is important to run using sun protection for your body, with the highest protection level the better, protecting your face is essential. If you have been running for a while, you will probably have experienced that it doesn´t take long, once you start sweating, for the cream in your face to start dripping on your eyes. I had to stop in many occasions to wash my face with water, or use a handkerchief to remove every bit of cream on it, as I started crying and was unable to see properly in front of me. As this problem doesn´t affect the rest of the body, you can go with any normal solar protection for the limbs or neck. As for the face I kept trying sport branded solar protectors until I came across the ISDIN Fusion Gel, that I got as a freebee in the running expo for the Barcelona marathon, where they told me that I would not have that problem with it. I was doubtful, but gave it a go on the next day, and sure it did as assured.

After this first try, I decided to give it a go and buy it. I must say it is not cheap. The 100mL ranged between nearly 30€ in the pharmacy to around 20€ in some online shops (I ended paying 20.6€), but if you keep using it only on your face it will last long.

I have already used it a few times, and I must say that never again had the solar protection entering my eyes, even when running in very hot conditions and sweating profusely.

The colour is transparent, and the texture very light, more liquid than other protectors. The smell is powerful, as alcohol, but once it is applied is easily absorbed, and the smell mostly disappear. It is sold as useful for hairy areas, and because of its small size it can be taken into your hand baggage if you want to carry on your flight. The main issue I found was its liquid nature. When I got it in the mail, I found that the external cardboard box had a small stain inside. I didn´t give it a second thought, but when I took the bottle on my first trip I found on arrival that it had leaked. Due to the liquid nature of the protector, the container should be airtight, to prevent leaks. You don´t want to ruin your luggage. Since then I always carry it wrapped with 2 airtight plastic bags.

A poor detail for an overall necessary product.


Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Pros: a solar protector that doesn´t get into your eyes (finally); high protection levels against UVA and UVB rays; water and sweat resistant

Cons: inappropriate packaging, for the price you would expect an airtight container to avoid wasting it over your stuff

Liquid texture and top, with liquid leaks already

Lisbon Eco Marathon (06/05/18 – 67)

For the third time in a row I am coming back for this marathon. Date has moved from mid-June in 2016 (and evening start), to mid/late May in 2017, and finally early May this year. I think it is a good change, as weather has been more benevolent getting away from summer, but I expect is not moving anymore, as it can get in the already marathon-packed April.

Since last year the race start and finish are on the same spot, in the Eduardo VII Park, just where the Portuguese flag overlooks the whole Lisbon town, and a privileged viewpoint.

Apart from the time it takes to get there and come back, marathon is wholly taking place in the Monsanto park, a big natural reserve just in the outskirts of the town center, that offers a trail marathon just without leaving town. Its “Eco” in the title comes from its course and the additional care is taken about littering at the water stations and thorough the course.

Registration priced at 30€ (because it was done well in advance), and an 8.30 start, having also a half marathon choice one hour later, or a 10k at 11. The number of registrants, as I am told when picking my kit, is about 150 for the full course. With hot conditions in the forecast (~26°C around midday) I take an easy evening to save the energy for tomorrow.

With an easily accessible start by public transport, and plenty of parking spaces I get early to the start area for a change. Being a low-key marathon, at least regarding to the number of the full marathon participants, everything in the area is still being set up. Previously to the start we get a warming session, that will come handy to avoid injuries later on. As for equipment I go for the T-shirt provided (as it is “compulsory” to wear it) and my backpack, where I carry one liter of isotonic drink and the usual gels. It came handy on previous occasions here, as weather got hot, and although the water stations are enough and no far between them, it was useful to carry everything, and get an extra drink on occasions. Also, uncommon in my case I also take my headphones and get ready my podcast playlist. And… we go!

We get the bike lane that goes to Monsanto, for about 2 miles, before entering the park area, that is composed of tarmac lanes closed to the traffic, with a few occasional road crossings always carefully marshalled, and off road well signaled paths. As for starter I decide to save energy, as once we enter the park the course exigency rises considerably, with continuous hills, slopes and so on. It doesn’t take long for the gaps among runners to extent, and when I am about halfway, you can only see some runner in the distance when running in a clear area. Although the temperature increases, trees offer a perfect cover and respite, and miles start falling on my side without taking much notice. I cross the 30k checkpoint feeling fresher than earlier on, and from that marker on I can keep a steady pace, that lets me overtake some really depleted runners (although I also got overtaken myself by a couple of other ones). On leaving Monsanto, and the last water station, we get again on the bike lane heading towards Eduardo VII Park and the finish line. The last mile still saves 3 uphill sections, but with the flag in sight a last pushing effort get me through the finish line in 4.18.12, improving my 4.22.23 in 2017 (with a dramatic fall after mid-point, that maybe conditioned a better time) and my 4.34.19 in 2016 (run in the evening), for a 43 place out of 101 finishers.

An ideal race to cross the 2/3 point on my way towards the 100 barrier, and one of my favorite races that I will try to keep in my calendar again next year.

Score: 5 (out of 5)

Pros: trail scenery; start/finish point

Cons: an always changing date 

Getting ready
Podium area
Runners camp
View from start/finish
At the start


      No Comments on SWISS ALPS

Monday after the marathon. Not too tired after the race, time to wake up early again to get into the 8.30 train to Lucerne, where we arrive after 45 minutes. There is only time to take a few pictures before taking the ferry to Vitznau-Rigi, as in the information post recommended to get to the top of the mountain early in the morning to avoid the rainy forecast for later in the evening, that would spoil the views from the top. 

A peaceful cruise gets to the start of the mountain Rigi train, oldest in Europe, and only second in the world. With an old engine and wagons, we ascend through bucolic landscapes until the 1798 metres of Rigi -Staffel, with a few stops in the way to the top, where there is still deep snow in some places. Views are spectacular, with a hotel, restaurant and tourist office, where there is information available about the hiking trails that depart from here. Plan was to do one of the short trails, but as there are plenty of markers to villages and train stops nearby, and the return ticket to Zurich departs from Goldau, we take one of the routes to this village, that we can see on the shore of the lake on the horizon, all the way down from the mountain. 

Following the sign that says 2h and 30 minutes looks as a good choice. There are still some patches of snow near the summit, although they soon clear up, to give way to green pastures, forests and waterfalls, and from time to time the distant noise from the trains descending from Rigi-Staffel to Goldau. The 2 and a half hours planned were clearly not enough to reach Goldau, and the legs start to get tired of the long descent, so we decide to finish the route in Kräbel, and reach our destination using the mountain train. We are at 758 metres from the approximately 1800 metres of departure, just on time, as a heavy rain paves its way through the mountains. With some extra time, there was a telepheric every 30 minutest going from Kräbel to Rigi Scheidegg, the other big mountain in the area, that promised new and fantastic views from a different perspective. Nevertheless, considering that there is only one train every hour from this stop it looks better not to risk the returning connection. Once in Goldau another train to Zurich, last stop for a remarkable trip into swiss territory.



      No Comments on ENDURANCE EVOLUTION

Philippides got his place as a running legend tragically, but story has already been told somewhere. Long distance running has been with the human being even before we were called so, and it was of high importance in our evolution. Our closer evolutionally ancestors, the apes, are not designed to run long distances. Their bodies evolved for a forest environment, where this aerobic capability was unnecessary. For most animals the running capability specialization is based in short distances at a high speed, doing sprints, useful to escape or hunt preys. Consequently, most of mammals would be able to beat a full charged Usain Bolt at maximum speed (40km/h approx) during a short sprint. As bipedal specie we are unable to gallop, and consequently our pace is more similar to a trot, that let us run long distances, similarly to animals like horses or dogs. They are also capable of running at this trotting speed for long periods, but get tired easily at galloping speed. For distances like the marathon or longer, the human being would be able to beat any of these animals at a trotting speed.

And what makes us different?

Among these characteristics we could talk about our tendons, that work as powerful springs, storing the energy in a first instant, to release it later on. For example, the size of our Aquiles tendon is considerable bigger than the one in apes. Additionally, the biped position is more economical in energetic terms. Comparing with the chimpanzees, the closer animal species to us, they need as much as double the energy we need to cover a certain distance. There is also a redistribution of our centre of mass during the race, that is almost unused for walking, whose main duty is stabilization. Longer legs also mean less muscles need activation for every step, and the number of them needed to cover a distance. On the contrary of what could be expected the number of legs used doesn´t have any importance.

Nevertheless, there is a key factor, and is our thermoregulatory capacity. Running generates 10 times more energy, in heat form, than walking. Most of mammals must stop galloping after running a short distance because they are unable of cooling their core with quick enough to stop hyperthermia. On the other side, we are able to sweat, a highly specialized mechanism that allows us to cool quickly and run long distances. To do so we have evolutionary removed most of our body hair and increase the number of sweat glands.

Somewhere in Africa, around two million years go, and before developing tools for hunting, we had to compete in the savannah with other mammals simply for food. Lacking the physical attributes of other more powerful predators, our specialization focused on the ability to run long distances efficiently, allowing us to hunt, over running our preys, with a minimal risk.  This evolutionary advantage differentiated us of the other Homo that preceded. Where we will get from here is, at the best, only hypothetical.


Economy and Endurance in Human Evolution
Pontzer H.
Current Biology 2017, R613–R621

The Evolution of Marathon Running Capabilities in Humans
Lieberman DE and Bramble DM.
Sports Med 2007; 37 (4-5): 288-290

Zurich Marathon (22/04/18 – 66)

After the last fast marathon trips, this time around the travel is further, and so I will try to combine sports and tourism. With a Friday night arrival, and a return on Tuesday morning this gives 3 full days in destination, plenty of time to run the marathon and do some extra stuff around Switzerland. A cheap flight bought well in advance is compensating the steep registration price, 120€, at the level of Berlin for example, and almost twice those of Madrid or Barcelona, but this is Switzerland. Saturday is the day chosen to pick up the number in the Saalsport Hall Sports centre, located 30 minutes walking to downtown, that gives time to check the start/finish area, located in the surroundings (Mythenquai). Strangely the number could also be picked earlier on the race day, between 6 and 8am, and then take a free shuttle bus to the start area, although being with plenty of time there is no need to add unnecessary stress just before the race. Runner expo is quite small, even when considering that with the marathon, that starts at 8.30 am, is taking also place a relay marathon starting at 8.37, and a 10k race at 8.43. There is almost full absence of other races stands, as it happens with most of the typical running brands so present in these events. To add some difficulty the information is sometimes uniquely in German, as happened with the emails after registration, but nothing you cannot get by.

With the number in my possession, I take advantage of the pasta party that was happening at that time, doing an unexpected picnic in the gardens surrounding the centre. The end of the evening is an ideal time to visit the quiet streets of Zurich and get some information for the upcoming trip to the mountains planned for Monday. 

On the race morning a small tram trip gets to the Burkiplatz area, where only a small walk gets to the start/finish area, in the left-hand side of the lake. A bit further is the clothes depot. With sunny weather and quite hot for this time of the day we start the race, heading quickly to the town centre, with the Burkiplatz area as central point, as we will run through it a few times until km 12, when we cross to the other side of the lake. From then on, we will be leaving Zurich behind, until the 25k marker, in Meilen village, when we will change direction to get back to Zurich, and later to the finish line, but there is still a lot of time before that. Previously to leaving Zurich the first runners from the relay marathon are passing ahead. Temperature is slowly rising, and probably because my lack of attention the first marker I see is the one indicating km 17. Race had been going easily, losing the time sense. I take my first delayed gel, that usually I take in km 12. From that point on I keep better track of the markers. The race is going through a wide road in residential neighbours in the outskirts of Zurich, and will be the same road we will follow to return to Zurich. There is no much public, and it is in this area when the 3.30 group goes ahead. After the km 30, the 3.45 group also gets ahead, but I cannot find energy to follow it either. The time will not be the best, although is not the most important. Once again in the Burkiplatz area, and just in the last moments of the race more people are in the street. We only must take the commercial Bahnhofstrasse street, until the train station, and head back to the finish line. Time 3.52.30, in summer conditions (even for Switzerland) in 949 place out of 1830 male finishers (and 427 women). Time to rest in the gardens around the finish line, and even to get a nap. Already halfway through the 2018 Grand Slam, it looks that the 12 marathons planned are a bit closer now.

Score: 4.5 (out of 5)

Pros: 1 lap flat course; everything accessible on foot, or with travel arrangements offered by the organisation

Cons: lack of criteria in the drinks stations (random content of glasses, from water to isotonic drinks or cola refreshments); information sometimes only in German

Extra: trip to Lucerne/Vitznau-Rigi/Rigi-Staffel/Goldau

Marathon poster
Running expo
Start box

Badajoz Marathon (18/03/18 – 65)

Back to Extremadura, after my first experience here in 2016. Cheap registration, only 15€. To get my running number is in “La Granadilla” Sports centre, located just outside town, and it doesn´t take long, as with picking the runner bag. It is a small marathon, so the lack of running expo. Considering the price, we get the usual t-shirt and running shorts also.

Race will start at 9 am, in a small park area near the river, where the finish line will also be located, for a 2 laps route. The half marathon will take place simultaneously, with a 15 minutes later start. Despite the heavy rain on Saturday evening the forecast for today is good. On the start we are there around 500 runners to burn shoes, many of them Portuguese, with a cloudy and a bit cold morning, but a runner friendly atmosphere. After last week effort I decide to go with the 3.45 group from the start, and we head towards the Portugal road, where we will do many of the race kilometres and where public is mostly absent. So early on I can see that the pacemaker is going faster than it would be expected, but everything is according to his plan to slow down in the last miles. Accordingly, we can see that the 3.30 group is only slightly ahead of ours. Nevertheless, the rhythm every kilometre is not very constant, with many accelerations and braking. For about 2 miles I decide to keep my own pace, going slightly ahead of the group, but forces are not enough and I finish getting back to the group discipline. Half marathon is covered in about 1.49, for a pack that is slowly losing units. From mile 17 onwards I start losing contact, although still able to keep the 3.45 globe in sight. Slower we head towards the town centre, and with a last effort I stop the clock in 3.46.58. With some bananas in the food stations, at least in the last stages, maybe I could have got the extra energy to reach the 3.45. Time to get the medal and a bag with some fruits and juice, and go back to the hotel for a shower and head back home.

After 4 marathons in a month, now there are 5 free weeks in front to recover and do some quality training. Next stop, if everything goes according to plan, Zurich.

Score: 4 (out of 5)

Pros: cheap registration for the usual standards; flat circuit

Cons: irregularity of the pacemaker (at least the 3.45 one); uninteresting course in the Portugal road

Before the race
Finish line, during the race

Barcelona Marathon (11/03/18 – 64)

First marathon in Catalonia. One of the last “big Spanish ones” still missing from my list. This time is running for a good cause, as my registration price was entirely towards a charity (61.5€ for Aldeas Infantiles), including a free 6 months subscription to Runners World, magazine I was already registered a few years ago, and that I stopped when time became a too precious gift.

Runners expo is huge, occupying a whole Pavilion at Barcelona Exhibition Centre, located in the Plaza de las Cortes Catalanas, that is also doing as outdoor activities exhibition. It is one of the most complete fairs I have ever seen. Luckily, I go for my number and runner bag at lunchtime, and the place is not overcrowded. The evening goes visiting Barcelona downtown, besides an unexpected storm. After dinner it is time to rest, for a 9.30 start tomorrow morning.

As in other occasions early wake up, but luckily the hotel is in Gran Via, only about 20 minutes walking from the race start, in the same spot of the running expo. Because of my PB I am going to be in the red box, with the 3.15 group, although those times are actually beyond my reach nowadays. With the excitement in the air, able to give me goose bumps after so many starts, I am able to cross the start line in less than a minute, not bad considering the approximately 15000 runners. With an ideal weather for running, sunny but with storms in the forecast around midday, I go for running vest and a cap, and obviously the always in place (for me) sunglasses.

Liquid and food stations are frequent, every 2.5k, always with water, isotonic drink and fruit, and the markers are even coming in miles. After the 5k I am left behind by the 3.15 group. It looks that my pace was quite good till this point. Previous marathons are not heavy on my legs yet, although I keep in mind my next week marathon, trying not to punish myself too much. Course is only one lap, with most of the tourist sights on it. I get to the half marathon in 1.47.44, only to be surpassed also by 3.30 group. Between the km 25 and 30 my pace suffers considerably, although I cross the wall without further complications, and start deducting kms with the hope of keeping the 3.45 group behind me. Crowds are impressive in the whole circuit, but overall in the last stages of the race. Finally, 3.44.26, for a perfectly organised marathon, to the level of the best I have run. A short walk to the nearby hotel is convenient to stretch my legs, and with no time left for tourism, only a quick shower and light lunch, before heading to the airport. Next stop Badajoz, in 7 days.

Score: 5 (out of 5)

Pros: one lap circuit through main Barcelona attractions; crowds supporting the race; the complete drink/food stations; excellent running expo

Cons: showers located far from the finish line (but shuttle provided); medal design could be improved; isolated individual attempts to turn a sports event into a political one


Numbers pick up area
Race course
Start/finish area
View from start

Ghost of Roadrunner Marathon (24/02/18 – 63)

Deal, in the English East Coast, Kent county, two hours away by train from London. Six days after the Dirty Running Marathon, and with Siberian cold in the forecast, I go for the last UK marathon, probably in a long time. The marathon´s name comes from a race that took place in the same premises between 2013 and 2016, the Kent Roadrunner Marathon, in which I run already in 2014. The organisation of today´s race bought the remaining medals from those years and decided to add the “ghost” to the race title, and make a good use of the medals excess. Each runner will be able to choose the medal among the available ones. Registration price was £30.

With a very strong wind and a 9.30 start, an Uber gets me to the start area, in the Betteshanger Country Park, about 3 miles from the town centre. It is a cycling track, closed to the traffic, that has been totally rented for the event. Its outline is sinuous, but flat, with the tarmac in perfect conditions and 2 miles in length. 12.96 laps will make for a whole marathon. It is a pity that the visitor centre is under renovation, but there is a small coffee shop with toilets nearby to get changed just a short walk from the start line. With around 2°C, gusty winds and no many chances of improvement along the day, I go for long tights, and a long-sleeved t-shirt with a vest on top, and obviously gloves. And we go for it… Laps start going by, but they don´t feel repetitive as in last weekend race. The track is circular, instead of going out and back following the same route, and there are different areas, one with trees, one with curves and so on. Not boring at all. As the laps start falling I start lapping runners, but I am lapped also (to get an idea I got lapped twice by the winner). Laps control is done with a plastic card, that is holed every time we cross the start line, where it is located the food station, that is well supplied. Getting to the last lap we get an English flag to make the honour lap. With no time keeping during the race I finish just shy of the 4 hours limit, in 3.59.41, for a 16th place out of 77 finishers, in the coldest conditions I remember from all my marathons.

The medal, one of the identity signals of this marathon before, is enormous. I go for the 2016 one. Without much time left before heading back to the airport, and no shower facilities, I go back to Deal, eat a pizza to recover some energy and get onto the train. I will need 4 hours, 3 train changes and 2 buses to get from Deal to my hotel just in Gatwick airport. I almost had forgotten about the maintenance works during the weekends. Luckily it is my last stop before heading back home tomorrow morning. If I had wanted a “double”, there was still another marathon in the same track tomorrow, but it would have been more difficult to get back home on time to work on Monday. Despite this, satisfied with getting 2 marathons under my belt in just under a week during my short travel to British soil.

Score: 4.5 (out of 5)

Pros: closed tarmac track; medal

Cons: no public transport from Deal to Betteshanger Country Park; the ongoing renovation works in the visitor centre

Check point