INTERMITTENT DIETING (1/2): more effective than other diets?

Food pyramid of the US Department of Agriculture

Dieting has been extensively used by athletes, in order to lose body weight or fat prior to competition, especially in some sports with weight classes. Athletes, in opposition to overweight people, are usually interested in diets that maintain their fat free mass levels, in order to keep training levels and performance, and usually combine nutritional and exercise interventions.

The most used dieting strategies involve a continuous caloric restriction, although there are strong evidences suggesting that intermittent caloric restriction could be even more effective in losing weight. Continuous caloric restriction with high training levels could decrease performance, by a reduction in muscle strength, depletion of glycogen stores and increased irritability. These symptoms could be accompanied with chronic fatigue, a higher risk of injuries and an impaired immune system.

One of the approaches to achieve fast losses of body weight is the dehydration, restricting fluids intake and pursuing sweat, which is known to affect adversely the performance. Nevertheless this is not the only dubious technique, as there are many diets around nowadays, with most of them lacking any scientific fundament.

Intermittent dieting comprises “feed” and “fasting” periods. The feeding periods are thought to break the body fasting rhythm, as the body adapts to dieting via metabolic and hormonal changes that make more difficult to keep losing weight after the initial period.

Besides the fact that less weight means also less energy expenditure, there is a metabolic adaptation called “adaptive thermogenesis”, which explains why most obese individuals are unable to keep a 10% weight reduction over 12 months.  6 months of diet with 50% of the energy requirements in a group of individuals caused a 40% decrease in the baseline energy expenditure (25% from the weight loss and 15% from the adaptive thermogenesis).

Hormones are also important. Energy restriction procedures reduce the levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), leading to a decrease in resting energy expenditure and an increase in body fat levels. Leptin and ghrelin, working in opposition, are hormones regulating appetite. Low levels of leptin increase appetite. Their levels could be against further weight losses, by altering appetite or reducing energy expenditure, and they could be used as indicators of the metabolic adaption to energy restriction.

Adipocytes are cells working as fat storages, which adapt to energy restriction by reducing their size, which is accompanied by a reduction in the levels of leptin released. The decrease in size could be accompanied by a higher capacity of fat storage, making more difficult the continuous body weight. Additionally it has been shown in rodents that after a dieting period the number of adipocytes may increase, explaining the “rebound” effect of some diet procedures, where the final weight may be even higher than at the initial stage.

There are many variations of intermittent energy restriction. Some of them use short cycles:

  • Daily 16/8 method: days are composed of 16h energy restriction + 8h normal eating. All energy intake is concentrated in a 8-10 hours period (dinner and breakfast for example).
  • Alternate-day fasting: 24h partial/complete energy intake restriction + 24h normal eating.
  • The 5:2 method: two days severe energy restriction + 5 days normal eating.

While there are studies using longer cycles. For example:

  • 11 days of restriction (55% energy requirements) + 3 days normal eating. Over 6 weeks in obese women and compared with continuous dieting (45% energy requirements) it showed a greater weight loss four weeks after completion, with higher levels of resting energy requirements in the intermittent diet group.
  • “Matador” study, with 8 periods of 2 weeks of energy restriction (67% energy requirements) + 2 weeks of normal eating. After 16 weeks in obese men and compared with continuous dieting (67% energy requirements) it showed greater weight and fat losses, and a better maintenance of lost weight after six months in the intermittently dieting group.

In the next entry we will focus on intermittent dieting and athletes.

LISBON Eco MARATHON (05/05/19 – 80)

Race headquarters, and start/finish area (Eduardo VII Park)

Pros: faultless organisation; trail scenery; start/finish line in central Lisbon.

Cons: none I can think of.

Marathon start

Back again for the fourth time to this marathon, once it looks stable in the calendar. I went for a very early registration, almost one year in advance, getting a reduced-price tag of 24€.

As I described in last year report, the whole race is in the Monsanto Park in Lisbon, an uncommon chance of running a trail marathon without leaving the town. Course is one lap, and although some sections are followed twice, it doesn´t feel repetitive.

This year, and besides the half marathon and 12k race, is also offered a 3.5k walk, in collaboration with the ReFood organization, which tries to avoid food waste in cities, giving a second chance to still perfectly usable food to be consumed by people in need.

With only one week to rest from last weekend marathon, I went for a recovery week, with one swimming session on Wednesday and one light running (7k) on Thursday. On Saturday I got a soothing Chinese traditional massage to get into competition mood again.

Race starts at 8.30 at the top of the Eduardo VII park, with a warm morning ahead. The first section is downhill following a bike lane as we head towards Monsanto. Once we enter the park, most of the race will alternate between roads and unpaved tracks, undulating continuously. Abundant trees offer a helpful cover of the sun in most sections, and a relaxing view.

Carrying my own backpack and isotonic drink, I skip the first water stations. Later, I will alternate drinks, as the one liter I carry is not enough to get me to the finish line. All stations are well marshalled and have water and isotonic drink. More into the race they also offer fruits and energy gels. We cross some roads with traffic, but they are well controlled and there is no need to stop.

The recovery week seems to have done well for me, as I don´t feel as tired as last weekend. A trail marathon requires a different approach to a road one. Course may be more difficult, but there is not the same pressure of a road marathon, where you usually feel the need of achievement. In road marathons are usually important times, and how you pace yourself for a personal best, a season best, or get under that barrier. In a trail marathon is about achievement, enjoyment and obviously also finishing.

Race goes on swiftly, and I start recovering places from halfway onwards. Once in the bike lane for the last three kilometers to the finish line there is still a last uphill section, which I walked last year, and I can run today. Legs are tired, but not as punished as in other road races by this point.

I cross the finish line in a 4.24.13 and 41 position of 123 finishers. Not my PB on this race, but a good result to make me happy. If you got here, thanks for reading and see you soon.

Medal and running number

MARATONA DA EUROPA (Aveiro, PT) (28/04/19 – 79)

Natural Reserve of Dunas de São Jacinto

Pros: one lap course; same location for start, finish and running expo; support in locations; generous running bag.

Cons: pacers misplaced in the start area; confusing course variations between half and full marathon; small area for running expo in Congress Centre; not enough sea views, course could go to the Costa Nova area and avoid the first small loop around Aveiro.

Extra: successful proposal, especially for a first edition, is sure to become another date to consider in the running calendar. A pity its date coincidence with the highly popular Rock’n Roll Madrid marathon.

Marathon course and altimetry
Arrangements in the start/finish area on Saturday

First marathon organised in the town of Aveiro and the only one in continental Portugal besides the more popular of Lisbon and Porto. Aveiro is located in central Portugal, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, and popular because of its channels and salt flats, being dubbed as the “Portuguese Venice”.

Race headquarter is in Aveiro Congress Centre, while the start and finish area are located in the channel area just in front of it. I arrive to pick my running kit on Saturday afternoon. It has a t-shirt, a bottle of wine, a deodorant and a cereal bar. I also get some force readings measured on my feet, as they were looking for volunteers to have them recorded before and after marathon completion.

In the evening we take the ferry to the Natural Reserve of the Dunas of San Jacinto. Maybe because the time of the day, walking into the empty beach with strong wind gusts, one get mentally transported to the desert. After enjoying the short detour, time to get back to Aveiro following the road, as the ferry services are not very frequent, for dinner and sleep.

With the marathon, there are also a half marathon and 10k races available, all scheduled for an 8.30 start. After breakfast, a short walk get me to the start with time to do some stretching. Temperature is ideal and humidity high because of the fog. There are starting boxes and race pacers, although they are all located just in the front line.

Training sessions during the week were light, trying to get a full recovery from 2 weeks ago, although I felt quite tired during each one of them. When we go, it takes me 1 kilometre to get to 4.30 group, another one for the 4.15, and a few more to get pass the 4.00 group. The first miles we surround Aveiro, before getting back and head towards the seaside. The marathon course is 1 lap long, so once we abandon Aveiro we are not coming back until aiming for the finish line.

We follow main roads, and cross some neighbourhoods, in our way to the Atlantic shore near Barra beach. Although the sections following the roads are a bit boring, they are compensated by the enthusiastic supporters when we arrive to populated areas. Course is not as flat as it could appear, as we cross some bridges in the highways. Additionally we don´t get much occasion to enjoy sea views, because of the course and the persistent fog, which stays in place until near midday.

As for myself, I never find my ideal pace and the 3.45 group is not going to be on reach. Crossing the half marathon shy of the 2 hour barriers, and predictably slowing down in the second half, I decide to take things easy. With the temperature rising I try to drink enough in every station. By mile 20 I also have some discomfort in my left foot. Today I had changed my racing shoes for my training shoes, heavier and not as comfy for a marathon run.

I finish in 4.03.27, in 675 position out of 1122 finishers in the marathon distance, receiving a nice medal and a finisher t-shirt. Time to recover for next week event in Lisbon, which will make for number 80.


1K+ Racing AWARD

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Celebrating today the first year of the Onekmore blog initiative we want to give something back to the running community.

Therefore we have established the first “1K+ Racing Award” to help a lucky person run his/her future objective race, covering/helping with the registration fee.

Tell us your story or motivation for a future race, or the one from that person you know have economic difficulty to afford race registration, and we may get it happening.

Share this initiative with your contacts using your social networks and spread the word.

You may contact us using our email, or sending a private message using our social networks (Facebook, Whatsapp +447972836711, Instagram #onekmore, or our webpage

Thanks for being there, and be part of the 1K+ community.

Deadline: 08/06/2019

Winner to be announced: 15/06/2019


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From A Coruña after running its marathon we head towards Asturias. There is time enough to do a short stop in Lugo to appreciate its old quarters, surrounded by a roman wall perimeter in very good shape, and World Heritage by UNESCO.

Route day 1
Tower of Hercules (A Coruña)
Roman wall (Lugo)

Entering to Asturias by Ribadeo, we follow national roads with plenty of peaceful beaches to stroll around. Not to miss the beautiful village of Cudillero, which welcome us with unpleasant weather.


After spending the night, next day we visit Oviedo and Gijón, two of the main cities in Asturias, as we follow the coastal road eastwards. Abandoning the main road, we head towards Cangas de Onís, and from there to the “Picos de Europa” National Park, and Covadonga, where we will spend the next couple of nights.

Route day 2
Oviedo Cathedral
Typical cahopo with cider (Cangas de Onís)
Gijón seaside

Covadonga is one of the main entrances to the Picos de Europa National Park. It is a small village with restricted car access in top season and famous because of its Sanctuary celebrating the first victory of Christian Spain against the Muslim army that conquered the whole Iberian Peninsula in the VIII century.  It is an ideal base to visit the famous Lakes of Covadonga, Enol and Ercina, 8 miles from here, and accessible by public bus, or sometimes by private car. The lakes can be visited walking, using a short or long route, from the Enol, or using a taxi.

Map of the "Lagos de Covadonga" area
Enol Lake
Ercina Lake

If visiting a National Park is a good idea to idea to do some walking and immerse in the surroundings. We spend the morning doing so, driving up to the Enol lake, and then walking the long route towards Ercina, crossing the old mining sites and the Palomberu forest.

Palomberu Forest
Buferrera mining site

After a picnic lunch and back in the car we head towards Cabrales to visit its cheese museum. Cabrales is a blue cheese, maturated in caves, typical of the area. The museum explains the production process and offers a tasting of cider and cheese. Before sunset we get to Poncebos, finishing point of the “Ruta del Cares”, one of the most popular treks in Picos de Europa, where we can appreciate the scenery before returning home and get dinner.

A special mention to the food, as every lunch is an occasion to taste some of the culinary specialities, such as cachopo, fabada, cabrito and the many cheeses. The meat quality is excellent, from animals grown in freedom and fed on green natural pastures. An ideal combination of good food quality and affordable prices.

"Denominación de Origen" Cabrales cheese

Last day is time to get back home, although there is still time to visit some spots despite the rainy weather. In Covadonga before leaving we visit the cave dedicated to the Virgin. Already on the way back we stop in the beautiful village of Potes, with its popular monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, where we get to taste a traditional “cocido lebaniego”.

View to Covadonga Monastery
Chapel of the Virgin of Covadonga
Cocido lebaniego

Leaving the National Park areas and their green setting seems as a good conclusion to a worthy holiday break.

View of National Park "Picos de Europa"



Pros: cheap registration (25€); well provided drink stations; finish line in the Town Hall main square.

Cons: 3-laps course; long unfriendly section (about 2 miles) in the port area; shuttle bus to the start arriving too close to the start time.

Finish area (Maria Pita Square)
C42K course
Running number

First race in Galicia, where I have never competed before. It was the only marathon in Galicia until this year, which saw also the first edition of Vigo’s marathon on the previous weekend. Not very good timing for both races that could do better more separated in the calendar.

Organised just starting my Easter holiday break I arrive on Friday, with a whole weekend to take things easy. On Saturday I collect my running number and t-shirt in the sports section of a big commercial centre. The rest of the day I walk around town to get a sight of the most touristic spots, as the Tower of Hercules, the oldest lighthouse still working in the world, and declared World Heritage by Unesco.

On race day, I take the free shuttle bus to the start offered by the organisation, saving a 30-minutes walk, and arriving to the finish area and cloakrooms at 8.10. With marathon starting at 8.30 there is just enough time to leave my bag, and walk towards the start line, a short walk away. We are about 500 runners for the marathon, and more than 1000 for the 10k race scheduled at 8.45.

Ideal conditions for running with cloudy sky and about 14-15°C I decide to tag with the 3.30 group, as in the last marathon. Although not feeling so strong, if things go according to plan I should be able to finish with the 3.45 group. We start and follow the seaside as we run towards the old town area, with the only uphill section of the course, compensated as we head back following the same road. After only 2 miles the 3.30 group is already distancing itself.

All drinking stations have water and isotonic drinks, plus bananas and oranges. We never coincide with the 10k runners, and is easy to follow marathon development and positions. Going into the port area, that is indicated with an arch saying “Welcome to hell”, and with some “demons” cheering the runners, there is a 2 miles section, with tarmac in bad conditions and totally absent of any attraction.

Near the finish line we start the second lap. I cross the half marathon in 1.50.14, slightly slower than Badajoz, with the 3.45 group getting closer, and the first three runners lapping me. Entering the third lap, clouds break and temperature gets warmer. I tag with the 3.45 group for a couple miles, but a sudden speed change leaves most of the runners in the small group behind. Luckily there are no more laps left.

I cross the finish line in 3.48.39, just 4 second slower than in the Badajoz marathon, where I run the first half more than 4 minutes faster. I was better able to keep my pace at the second half this time around and finish 325 out of 492.

Now a short rest, as in 2 weeks I will be heading to Aveiro, in Portugal, to run its first marathon, and a week later to Lisbon, once again for its Eco marathon.

Marathon runners in the start area


Juan C Zabala in 1932

“In spirit, in heart, and in endurance, Juan C. Zabala, a slim young son of Argentina, was the modern reincarnation of Pheidippides of old”.

Los Angeles Examiner, after his Olympic victory.

Los Angeles was selected as the Olympic host of the 1932 meeting, as it was the only city candidate. Celebrated during the Great Depression the number of athletes in these Games was smaller than in Stockholm 1928.  It was the first time an Olympic village was built to allocate the athletes (only the males, as females were distributed among hotels in the city), and the first time a podium was used to give the medals.

Early on 1932 the great favourite for the marathon was the Finnish Paavo Nurmi, even when he had never completed a full marathon. In the Finnish trials he retired after 40k, having managed an astonishing time of 2 hours and 22 minutes. Having travelled to Los Angeles, he was excluded by the IAAF three days before the Olympics for violating the amateur rules after receiving some money in one of his running tours. With Nurmi out of the scope, and no clear favourite, British Sam Ferris and Duncan McLeod, and Finnish trial winner Armas Toivonen, looked as the top contenders for the marathon victory.

Juan Carlos Zabala, nicknamed the “Ñandu criollo”, was born in 1912. Orphan since very young his childhood was not easy, growing in an orphanage. He started running early, and among other victories in shorter distances, he had already won the Kosice marathon in 1931 and competed in two of the North-American trials, after moving to the United States to acclimate for the Olympics. At the time it was illegal to compete in the Olympic marathon to athletes younger than 20, so the Chilean president allowed him to change his date of birth to 1911 to compete in Los Angeles.

Race started on August 7th at 15.38, with 29 runners from 15 countries. Argentina, Finland, Japan, Canada and the United States entered 3 athletes each. It was the marathon with less runners since the opening Games of 1896. The Olympic stadium had 80 thousand spectators to enjoy the last day of track and field events.

Zabala took the lead early, being the first out of the stadium. The course toured the city, with 7 intermediate control stations that allowed spectators in the stadium know about the race development. By the second station (4.5 miles) Zabala was still in the lead, followed by the Mexican Pomposo just seconds behind him, and a group of 7 runners later.

By the fourth station (14.5 miles) Zabala was still in the lead, with a 1-minute advantage over Finland´s Virtaner, and Toivonen in third place. Virtaner managed to get in the lead, although his hard effort would be pointless, as he started losing positions, retiring at 23 miles. McLeod, according to his plan of attacking in mile 20 was the leader at the sixth station (22 miles), followed by Zabala, Toivonen, and Japanese Tsuuda, one minute behind each, and Ferris in fifth place.

McLeod leadership was short-lived, and by the last control station (24 miles) Zabala was again in the lead, although struggling. Ferris, still fresh, started rapidly climbing positions from behind. It looked that he would manage to close the gap and claim victory. Entering the stadium for the last lap, Zabala hold his place and managed to win the gold medal in 2.31.37, with Ferris entering just 19s behind, and Toivonen closing the medal positions a further 17s behind. McLeod would finish fourth, 29s after Toivonen, for the most contended marathon until then.

Zabala became a celebrity, living in the United States for some time, and competing all over Europe. This would not be the last Olympic appearance for Zabala, as he tried to revalidate his title in Berlin four years later, having bettered the 20k world record only a few months earlier. He was the flag bearer for Argentina in the opening ceremony and managed to finish sixth in the 10000 metres. In the marathon he took an early lead again, but around the 30k abandoned the race, and retired from athletics shortly afterwards, being only 25.

Zabala was an inconsistent marathon runner, as he competed in five marathons but only was able to finish the two he won. Later in his life he was accused of having Nazi links, as he was running partner of Heinrich Himmler, SS leader, while in Germany. He rejected these theories alleging that was later rejected entry in Germany because of helping some Jewish to escape to Denmark.

An Argentinian movie based on his life, “Campeón a la Fuerza”, premiered in 1950. In 1980 he was named best Argentinian athlete of the century, dying in 1983.



“The Olympic Marathon”, DE Martin & RWH Gynn. Human Kinetics, 2000.

"El Gráfico", 26/09/1931
"El Gráfico", 02/04/1932
"El Gráfico", 27/08/1932

100 METERS (2016, 108min, Marcel Barrena)

“We are all going to die, so we must enjoy life, not frivolously as an empty carpe diem, but grabbing every instant”.

Ramón Arroyo

A Spanish movie based on real events, specifically the story of Ramón Arroyo, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 35 and managed to overcome his limitations and finish an Ironman.

We find our lead happily married, with a kid and his wife pregnant with their second child. He has a successful career as publicist but starts feeling a lack of coordination in his hands.

We also meet the father-in-law, a grumpy old man, alcoholic and, as we find later, weed smoker, who goes to live temporarily with the family.

Feeling worse, medical tests confirm that the symptoms Ramón is experiencing are not caused by the stress, but by as sclerosis at an advanced stage. Firstly, he fights the idea of being sick, as he doesn’t feel so bad. Soon in the movie we watch his illness advancing, affecting the whole family and his job. He reluctantly starts the medical treatment, while his wife carries on with her pregnancy.

We meet some interesting characters, other patients in the hospital following the same treatment he does. They don’t have much screen time, but you want to know more about their lives. One predicts him, that in one year, he will be unable to walk 100 metres.

Our protagonist is left apart from his friends and we witness his arguments with his father-in-law, with whom he never got well before. It’s around then when he decides to complete an Ironman.

His wife gets him and his father-in-law together, and he starts training under his tutelage (he was physical teacher in a school for 40 years), using unorthodox methods. Close to the competition day he suffers a strong attack that leaves him in badly shape.

With the second child and his wife back at work, as he finally must quit his job, he manages to start training again. At this point, he is already in better terms with his father in law. He finally gets to know the reasons behind his behaviour, as he misses greatly his wife.

Then we get to the Ironman’s day, with the whole family there to support his effort. He has 17 hours to complete the race: 1.5k swim + 180k cycle + 42k run.

With a lot of effort, and just minutes before the deadline, with organisers already taking down the installation, he crosses the finish line among the happiness of his family waiting for him. Intercalated with the images from the movie we can also watch real footage from the real athlete finishing the Ironman.

As the credits roll out, we get to know that Ramon finished an Ironman, 4 marathons, 8 Olympic triathlons, 5 half Ironmans and 16 half marathons. He was 3 years without outbreaks, but then they came back. But the story is about a man whom they told he couldn´t.

The movie is dedicated to all patients suffering from incomprehension, work issues, lack of government subsidies, loneliness and depression.

Score: 4/5

Pros: uplifting spirit; raise awareness about the side problems that patients suffer in his everyday life, besides the ones linked to their diseases.

Cons: the father-in-law character, not very credible, and a comic-relief too intense.

Ramón Arroyo finishing the Ironman accompanied by his family (image courtesy of Ramón Arroyo)

BADAJOZ MARATHON (24/03/18 – 77)

Roman Amphitheatre (Mérida)

Time to get back to Badajoz, to run its marathon for a third time. As before, a good occasion to add a marathon to my tally, taking advantage of the cheap registration (15€) and interesting visiting spots in the vicinities.

Arriving just before lunch, I pick my running kit, that includes a running shirt + shorts. The pasta lunch is included, although we go instead to Mérida, a town located 40 miles from Badajoz, and declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1993.

As time is at the essence, we get a 30 minutes tour in a small train to see the main sights, before visiting the unmissable Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre. After a short walk in town, and with sunset approaching we head back to Badajoz, to check in at the hotel and have a pizza before going to bed.  

Roman Theatre (Mérida)
Marathon start

Race starts at 9, with the half marathon starting at 9.15. With about 500 runners for each race, and pleasant weather is time to go. Last year I tagged along the 3.45 group, with an inconsistent pacer. This time around I run slightly behind the 3.30 group. As we cross the river and head towards the outskirts of Badajoz I remember that is the most boring part of the course. It is flat, and we go out and back following the same long avenue.

It gets more interesting as we cross the old bridge of Palmas over the Guadiana, before turning left and surround the Alcazaba, arriving to a section with some slopes around kilometres 14-16, that promises to be hard work for the second lap.

Keeping the 3.30 group in sight, I cross the half marathon in 1.45.56, three minutes faster than last year. The second lap will become a different business, as heat and tiredness start affecting my performance. My pace decays and heading back to Badajoz the 3.45 group starts closing the distance, until I get caught. The pacer encourages me to go with his small group, and although I tag with them for a couple of miles in the area with slopes, I finally fall behind in a drinking station.

Luckily the worst is gone, as we get in the town centre, where public is more present and helps to get that energy, so necessary near the end, and that every runner knows well.

Final time of 3.48.35 (vs. the 3.46.58 of last year), and position 256 out of 558 finishers. Third marathon of the month, and still lacking that additional punch in the second half of the race. Maybe a consequence of the training missed in January, or the competition excess in March.

For April I have lined up A Coruña marathon, my debut in Galicia, and Aveiro, in Portugal, that is going to celebrate the first edition of its Maratona da Europa.

Score: 4 / 5

Pros: cheap registration; flat course.

Cons: course open to traffic (although well marshalled) and excessively out of town; considering the number of athletes a running expo, open at lunch time, would offer a warmer welcome.

Finish line
Running number and medal


The runners

Six days apart from my Mega Challenge Marathon, and just back in Spain, is time for the Valdebebas Marathon, organised by David Paños, with invaluable help from some family members and volunteers, that is going for its second edition. It is a small field marathon (20 runners at most), where registration (20€) is by invitation. I was luckily recommended by Enrique Benito (from Calle Running).

The week was full of work, with no training after Sunday´s race, and an “out of home” diet, composed mainly of nuts and fruits. The air conditioning at my workplace has also made its impact, with some cold symptoms looming close. Arriving to Madrid at midnight and managing to sleep after 3am is not the recommended procedure for a successful race. Luckily the start is at 11am, and the start area is 300 metres walking from Valdebebas train station.

The marathon race will consist of 40 laps of a pedestrian avenue, just in front of the Real Madrid training grounds. People start gathering as the start time approaches, with some well-known faces in the amateur Spanish marathon running scene. The race is supposed to be run in a neutralised group, aiming for a 4h30minutes finish time.

After a pre-race group picture with the 19 participants, and with sunny and pleasant conditions, we start the marathon. The pace is slow, as expected for the planned finish time, although I am not very good at these paces from early on.

The big group gets to the first stop for supplies, and soon afterwards it splits in two. I found myself in the heading group of 7 runners, with another group of 6-7 shortly behind. The remaining runners are by themselves, or in smaller groups. As the course is out and back following the same avenue, is easy to follow everyone´s positions, although I soon get lost with the lap counting.

It doesn’t take long before I lose contact with the heading group. From that point onwards, I will not feel at ease again during the race. I cross the half marathon point a bit over 2h time. It means that even I am running ahead of schedule. Already tired, I get the feeling that finishing this marathon is going to be a will effort.

Front runners start lapping me. With a short course is obvious that it would happen, although the camaraderie is always present, with supporting cheers as we cross each other twice every lap. Asking other runners their laps count, help me to keep track of how many I have left. Boredom and the hard surface are not doing it easier, and I start pausing to walk every 3-4 laps, after drinking/eating at the well-stocked station.

With 5 laps to go, first runners are already finishing slightly over the 4h time. At the pace I am running there is still a chance to finish under the 4.30. With less runners in the course, I don´t have any extra energy left to maintain the pace, and I finish in 4.42.59, after running an extra 200 metres, as I thought the race finished in another point of the course.

Satisfied with the experience, although not with myself after last week success. Anyhow I have never been very good with races going for many laps.

Score: 4.5 / 5

Pros: a marathon organised by runners for runners, where everyone feels welcomed and you go home with new friends; the supporting staff at the refreshment area, always helpful and supportive.

Cons: hard surface and boring course, but impossible to do otherwise, as it was run uniquely using a pedestrian avenue; group discipline trying to achieve the planned 4.30 broke up too early on.

Food & drinks station
Marathon course