CASTELLO MARATHON (27/02/22 – 105)

Parque Ribalta

Returning to the marathon in Castelló was returning to the last “normal” race, without masks, which I ran before Covid-19, back in February 2020.

Unable to run the Murcia marathon because of its date, and with no registrations available in Sevilla, Castelló stood as the best marathon option for February. What I didn´t realised was how complicated the trip from Valladolid was, especially to return. Last time I had flown from Lisbon to Valencia. For the outward journey I was lucky enough to have a direct train, which left me in Castelló just 40 minutes before the closure of the running expo. Just enough time to pick up the running bib at the expo, where the stands were already being removed, and go buy some supplies for breakfast.

After a short tour of the city, I retire early to rest. With the hotel next to Parque Ribalta, the start and finish area, I just need to get down a few minutes before to get into my finishing time box and join the rest of the participants. There are two distances, a 10k, starting at 900, and the marathon, starting at 9:15.

With an ideal temperature for running and partially cloudy skies, we go punctual for the 42k, through a completely urban and flat circuit, which we will do two laps.

Waiting for the start

For the initial segment I keep the 3h30m group in sight. I cross the 10k in 51.12, and the half marathon in 1.48.37. With half of the work done, the question is to see how slower I will run the second half of the race. A bit behind are coming Lola, David, Pepe, Txema and company.

Well supplied, the drinking stations are many, and an example of efficacy and good organization. Thus, the World Athletics label.

On the second lap through the port area, the Sun makes its appearance, adding a bit more heat. Slower, and with about 5 kilometers to finish, I am overtaken by the 3h45m group. Nevertheless there is no much left and I can still try to improve the 3.49.46 of the 2020 edition.

Finally I reach the finish line with a net time of 3.47.29 (official 3.47.56), after spending 11 minutes more in the second half than in the first. I have just enough time to go to the hotel, take a quick shower and meet David, who takes me to Madrid by car, avoiding me a whole set of trains. Renfe’s 5% discount for runners isn’t much when they ask for €120 just to get from Valencia to Madrid.

Perfectly organized race, in which the Kenyan Yalemzerf Yahualaw, with 29.14, also smashed the 10k women’s world record. With this one, it is the second race in which we run, where a world record is broken, after the 2014 Berlin marathon.

Seven days to recover before the next marathon, in Bilbao…

SCORE: 5/5

The medal
Castelló Cathedral



For many runners completing a marathon is a remarkable achievement. However, for other runners, a marathon may become a routine activity.  These runners eventually reach a turning point when they decide to try new running experiences.

We will show some of the most uncommon ways of experimenting with running, that many of their practitioners define as addictive and revelatory.


Experimenting with running quantitites

Usually, the most common way of experimentation is increasing running distances, frequency, or both at the same time. Instead of setting the goal of getting a personal best, some runners try to finish more marathons than previously done or run marathons in consecutive days/weeks.

Some runners try the “run until you drop” format, where they run consecutively the distance in kilometres (or miles) corresponding to the date, starting from the first day of the month.

Ultrarunning would be another choice of experimentation with running quantities.


Experimenting with running environments

Runners search for races in extreme environmental settings. We could mention deserts, the Arctic, the Alps, the Grand Canyon or even the North Pole.

These races usually involve a self-sufficiency approach. Besides the obligatory equipment runners must usually carry their own supplies of food and water. Running becomes an adventure sport.

Other running options

  • Straight line running. This race format involves a GPS device and running the longest possible distance without deviating from a straight line by more than 100 meters. In the “escape” format runners start the race from the spot, heading in self-chosen directions. The winner is the runner who covers the longest distance within 24 hours, measured as a straight line on the map.
  • Fell-running. Sometimes called hill running is a mixture of cross-country running (but with steeper gradients), mountain running (but without predetermined routes), and orienteering.
  • Beer miles. It is s a 1-mile (1,609 m) race combining running and speed drinking, usually run on a standard 400 metres track. The race begins with the consumption of a 355 ml (12 US ounces) beer, followed by a lap around the track. This process is repeated every lap, until completion. World record is 4:28.1 (Corey Bellemore, Canada, October 2021).
  • Everesting. Pick any hill, anywhere, and repeats a single activity until climbing 8,848m, the equivalent height of Mt Everest.
  • Backyard ultra. In this race runners must consecutively run the distance of 6,706 meters (4.167 miles) in less than one hour. 24 laps are exactly 100 miles. When a lap is completed, the remaining time is used for recovery before the next hour’s race. The race ends when the last runner is unable to finish the distance within the hour. The record is 569.980 km (85 laps) (Harvey Lewis, Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, October 2021).

Overall, many of these running experiences often involve feelings of pain, exhaustion, and self-transcendence, among others.

There are many ways of pushing your limits and intensify self-awareness, but whatever the reasons to experiment with your running, don´t forget its main goal: having fun.


                            The sky is the limit: run safe and be happy.



Bodies as Arenas of Experimentation: Experiencing Novel Ways of Running. Toomas Gross. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. August 1, 2021, Volume: 50 (4): 524-549


Stands of the Sociedad Sportiva Argentina

Athletics arrived in Argentina at the hands of the British, who organized the first athletic competitions in Buenos Aires in 1867. Important clubs at these early days were the Buenos Aires CC, Buenos Aires Athletic Sports, Zingari Cricket Club or the Amateur Athletic Association of the River Plate, among others.

The first marathon that was run on Argentine lands took place at 9am on October 4, 1903, starting and finishing in the Florida Garden, with a course around 40k. There were 30 runners, with victory for the 19-year-old Claudio Peralta in 3h02m10s.

Still a few years passed until the next marathon took place. Thus, on May 5, 1910, over 40.2k, a preparatory test for the Centenario celebrations was held in Buenos Aires. It was won by Ceferino Legria in 3h12m00s.

A few days later, on May 24, and already over the distance of 42,195k, was celebrated the so-called the Centenario Marathon. On the dirt track of the Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, and with only 8 runners, victory was for the Italian figure Dorando Pietri, famous since his marathon at the 1908 London Olympics. His time of 2h38m48s was a personal best, in which would become his last competition in the distance. He was accompanied on the podium by the Spanish marathon pioneer Antonio Creuz (2h45m04s) and the Argentinian Aníbal Carraro (2h54m09s). The other Spanish runner, Miguel Soto, finished 5th in 3h08m16s.

The 8 participants of the Maratón del Centenario, May 24 1910

After these first attempts over the marathon distance, the first one to be celebrated regularly was the Los Barrios Marathon. Organized by the magazine El Gráfico, it ran, with a few exceptions, between 1934 and 1975.

Thus, the seed of the marathon bore fruit in Argentine lands, appearing some of its most outstanding figures. At the Olympic level, we must highlight its champions Juan Carlos Zabala (Berlin 1932) and Delfo Cabrera (London 1948), and the runner-up, after the legendary Emil Zatopek, Reinaldo Gorno in Helsinki 1952.

Although no standing out at Olympic level, many other runners helped to maintain Argentina as a world power in the distance for several decades. A brief review would have to include José Ribas, Roger Ceballos, Armando Sensini, Raúl Ibarra and Osvaldo Suárez, among the most prominent.

Abebe Bikila’s victory in the 1960 Rome Olympics marathon marked the emergence of African athletes in the Philippides distance. This paradigm shift contributed to the end of the golden age of the Argentine marathon at international level.

Among the women, the first Argentine to complete a marathon was Iris Fernández. On September 23, 1979, he ran the 42,195 meters of the Waldniel Marathon (Germany) in 2h58m31s.

Currently the most popular marathon run in Argentina is the Buenos Aires Marathon, which has been held since 1984 with increasingly levels of participants and high-quality finishing times. The marathons of Mar del Plata, Mendoza or Rosario also deserve a special mention.

If we speak about Argentine marathon records, the men´s one is held since December 2021 by Joaquín Arbe, with his 2h09m36s obtained in Valencia last year. His time improved the previous record, which was in place since 1995, by Antonio Silio (2h09m57s). The women’s record is in the hands of Marcela Cristina Gómez, with her 2h28m58s obtained in the 2020 Seville marathon.

These recent results allow us to look with optimism to the Argentine marathon and continue a successful tradition in the 42k distance.



Juan Carlos Zabala
Delfo Cabrera
Reinaldo Gorno

ALMAGRO MARATHON (16/01/22 – 104)

Start/finish area

Almagro is a small size marathon, going for its 4th edition, organised perfectly by Miguel Ángel Muñoz Trapero. We already run Almagro in 2019, but at the end of June and at night-time, before it moved from the hot of summer to the coldness of a January morning in La Mancha.

Meeting Quique and co. in the bus, we arrive to Almagro after a long trip. With a start at 9am and -4⁰C we are about 60 participants there, between the marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay options. Many known faces, and just the time for a quick photo of the “four of Valladolid” (Quique, Pepe, Jaime “Nina” and myself) before the start.

The marathon course comprises 14 laps of a flat 3k loop. Not a fan of multi laps marathons before, it seems that the lockdown from 2 years ago changed this. If the loop offers some good views, is enough to keep oneself entertained. And so, it was.

With a clock at the start/finish time is easy to know the timing at each lap. Running on feelings I stay a loop with David, although a bit above my pace I decide to let him go. Jaime “Nina”, far ahead of most runners, already laps me for a second time when I finish my 7th and reach the half-marathon. At the end a marathon is a battle between you and your inner self, not so much against the other runners.

While keeping my cruise speed I continue completing laps. Heading towards the last four laps I feel that I can improve my 3h55m from Almagro 2019. Maybe the previous competition-free weeks left more energy in me. Enjoying the sunny weather and better temperature I cross the finish line in 3.42.41 (net time), 16th out of 47 finishers, in a race won by Nina in a stratospheric time of 2.41.58.

Happy with the result, that is my best marathon time in over 2 years, I hurry to the hotel to get a quick shower before catching a train back home.

That was marathon 104, and the 14th consecutive year running at least a sub 4h marathon. Next stop should be Castellón, the last marathon we run before the 2020 lockdown. It won´t be easy, but we will try to improve the 3.49.46 from then.

See you soon.

The four of Valladolid


Performance is affected by dehydration with some studies saying that even a 2% dehydration, expressed as body mass loss, is enough to alter performance negatively.

A recent study analysed the effects of hydration and cooling on performance during the Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships, held in hot and humid conditions.

To do so they surveyed the hydration and cooling strategies, body mass loss, and core and skin temperatures of 83 elite athletes.



  • 93% of endurance athletes had a drinking strategy, which included water (85%), electrolytes (83%) and carbohydrates (81%).
  • 80% of athletes planned pre-cooling, mainly using ice vests (53%) and cold towels (45%).
  • 93% of athletes used mid-cooling, mainly head/face water dousing (65%) and cold-water ingestion (52%).
  • Less common cooling interventions were ice slurry ingestion and menthol-based interventions.
  • Relative body mass loss was higher in men than women (-2.8% vs -1.3%), and not associated with performance outcome.
  • DNF had a higher pre-race skin temperature (33.8°C vs 32.6°C in finishers).
  • Within finishers a lower pre-race skin temperature was moderately associated with faster race completion.



  • Most athletes had a pre-planned drinking strategy, based mainly on personal experience.
  • Pre-race temperature management, including skin temperature, is important for endurance exercise in hot-humid conditions.


In hot conditions hydrate properly and keep your temperature low to improve your performance and chances of finishing a race.



Hydration and cooling in elite athletes: relationship with performance, body mass loss and body temperatures during the Doha 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships. Racinais S, Ihsan M, Taylor L, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021;55:1335-1341.


On these dates it is typical to look back on the year and do balance on what we have achieved in the last 365 days. In this post we will focus on the running that marked this last year.

2021 began with high hopes from the vaccines. We thought they would bring us normality and races again, although we were not totally right.

During the first months without official competitions, we continued with our “artisan” marathons, completing another 3 MIVs: Vía Verde-Tren Burra, Esgueva and Experimental.

The return to official races was at the Maratón das Linhas de Torres, in Portugal, in May, after a 15-month pandemic stoppage. Races began cautiously to be organized, and most of the marathons that had already been cancelled in 2020, or delayed this 2021, were scheduled for the last trimester. The marathon calendar was saturated with marathons outside their usual date, such as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Badajoz or London, which were added to those already typical of those dates such as San Sebastián, Malaga, Valencia or Berlin, among others.

Back in Portugal in June the next race would be the Caminhos do Tejo Ultra Maratona, a 58k race that I already had in mind to do in self-sufficiency, following the longer pilgrim route between Lisbon and Fatima. Tough experience in extreme heat conditions that we successfully completed after more than 8 hours of running.

At the end of July, we run 2 marathons in the space of 6 days, the Mélides-Troia, in sand, which had been on the agenda for several years, and the Santa Cruz, which took me to the 99th marathon. There was only one more left to become a “centennial”.

With Madrid on the horizon, moved since April 2020, MAPOMA emerged as the perfect place to reach the 100th marathon, on the same stage as the first, in 2000. With the presence of many of the marathoners who had done the lockdown more bearable, I completed Madrid, among friends, and with it a milestone that I never thought would be within reach.

Trying to avoid the “curse of the 100” we run the Logroño marathon a week later, which we completed just under 4 hours.

Then it was time for the Lisbon marathon, well known, although each year completed with worse times. Badajoz fell off the agenda at the last minute. To compensate for it I run the Lisbon half marathon, which I had never done before, crossing the Bridge of April 25th, and the Corrida da Agua, crossing the Águas Livres Aqueduct.

Already in December and at the end of the year we returned to Geres, one of the last marathons that we ran “normally” at the end of 2019. We were still thinking of adding some San Silvestre. Then has come the Ómicron, and again the cancellations …

We closed the balance for 2021 with 10 marathons and 1 ultra, from 13 races, while reaching 103 marathons.

Although better than in 2020, it is difficult to know how it will compare to 2022. Although with some marathons planned on the horizon, expectations call for caution and not many big plans for the coming months.

Externally, we would undoubtedly highlight Kipchoge’s victory in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics marathon, revalidating his title from 5 years earlier, in Rio 2016. Thus, he joins the exclusive club of marathoners who repeated victory in the Olympic marathon, along with the legendary Ethiopian Abebe Bikila and East German Waldemar Cierpinski.

We hope you enjoyed our stories and articles during these last 12 months, and that you will continue with us in the future. Greetings to everyone and a warm welcome into the new year.

While we live, we run.


Photo by Calpower (Pixabay)

In October 2019 Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge ran for the first time an unofficial sub-2h marathon in Vienna, as part of the Breaking2 Project.

But everything started a couple years earlier, in May 2017 with the introduction of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite, which introduced a new shoe technology based on three key features:

  • Lightness
  • Midsole of a novel foam with high energy return
  • An inserted carbon fibre plate in the midsole area

Since then, almost every running shoe company has launched models incorporating carbon fibre plates. Because of this World Athletics has promoted new rules to control the “shoe war career”, that had seen world records improved in the marathon (and many other distances also) in a short amount of time. Thus, more than half of the 50 best times in history has been achieved since the creation of this footwear.


The study

A recent article has studied if these shoes with carbon fibre plates had any influence on the improvement of marathon performances in the last years. To do so they used the top-100 performances in men’s marathon from 2015 to 2019. The 500 entries included 40 marathon runners who completed a marathon with “normal” and carbon fibre plate shoes.


The results

  • Marathon performances improved from 2015 to 2018 (0.88%) and 2019 (1.50%).
  • There were significant differences in performance in runners who wore carbon fibre plate shoes, finishing an average of 26s faster than those who didn´t wear them.
  • From the 40 runners who competed using both type of shoes, 29 improved their performance with the new models.
  • No differences were observed due to environment conditions, marathon orography or birthplace of the athletes (86.4% Africa, 3.60% Asia, 2.4% Europe and 0.40% America).
  • It seems that there are more convenient circuits for running with this type of footwear. Circuits where runners run faster were Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, London, Prague, Rotterdam, and Valencia.



Carbon fibre plates shoes has a clear effect in marathon performance, estimated between 1 and 6%, an advantage probably due to improvements in running economy.



Influence of advanced shoe technology on the top 100 annual performances in men’s marathon from 2015 to 2019. Rodrigo-Carranza, V., González-Mohíno, F., Santos del Cerro, J. et al. Sci Rep 11, 22458 (2021).

Photo by Quino Al (Unsplash)


After the incredible experience of 2019, the opportunity to compete again in Geres decided the balance against the other option that I had considered, Lanzarote, a race still in my to-do list after it was cancelled in 2014.

Once again it was organized by the Carlos Sá Nature Events, a company that has specialized in long-distance and multi-day races, especially trails. In the case of Geres, the weekend is complete of races with many distances: from 90k to a vertical mile, with half marathon, 32 and 14k races. One for everyone, with tough courses on asphalt.

On this occasion weather is more benevolent: a bit cold, but without rain in the forecast. Taking advantage of the close accommodation, it is a 5 minutes’ walk to reach the start area. The marathoners are ready to go at 9.00. The presence of Quique and Pepe is missing, absent on this edition.

Once the race starts, and after a small lap around the village, it is time for the first uphill section. Aware of what must come, I take things easier than on the previous occasion. This ascent gets us to the first drink station around kilometre 7. It has been almost 550 meters of ascension that we have mostly to descent now. Then I realised that I forgot to activate my chronometer. Therefore, I will have to run on feelings and approximate step times.

After coming down from the first mountain is time to ascend the next one, and then the next one, and so on. I had forgotten how tough this race was. It’s curious how we end up blocking the hardest bits, to keep only the positive ones.

At a drink station I ask a runner carrying a GPS how many kilometres we have run: a little more than 29 in about 3h and 15 minutes of race. With the worst of the race done, and considering that the last 8 kilometres are downhill, it is feasible to improve the 2019 mark from 4.31.31. Thus, the specific training sessions of the last weeks, with uphill sections and ladders, would be productive.

Completing the last ascent, you reach the Miradouro de las Curvas de Sao Bento. It is the downward section from there that offers the best views. With the legs quite well, it seems that the energy management has been the appropriate. Going down in cruise mode I get to the surroundings of Geres, where a small tour directs me towards the finish line.

Crossing the finish line without knowing the time, I calculate it about 4h25m. With the classification in hand my official time is 4.24.16 (maybe a few seconds less in net time). Considerably improving my PB in this race I finish 142 out of 270 finalists.

With Geres I finish my marathon number 10, and predictably last, of 2021. Next few weeks I may run some San Silvestre and start preparing to face 2022. Next year, if Covid-19 allows it, the marathon calendar may return to normality.


Juan Ruiz, Gustavo Ramírez & Juan Medrano, first three positions in the first marathon in Mexico on November 27, 1910 (El Tiempo Ilustrado, nº 49, December 4 1910)

Athletic competitions emerged in the United States in 1876 to commemorate the centennial of its independence. They were called Patriotic Games, and it is under this format, as Juegos Patrióticos o Patrios, that these athletic competitions were introduced by them in Mexico in 1892, to celebrate their 4th of July.

In Mexico, sports clubs would be responsible of spreading athletics. It was they who established a sports community, with facilities and organizational capacity for athletic meetings, or Field Days. It was in 1897 when they organized an athletic competition for the first time. Among the most influential clubs in the early days of Mexican athletics were the Reforma Athletic Club, founded in 1894, the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), founded in 1902, and the Mexico Country Club, founded in 1907.

Mexicans found in the longer distance races a space in which to establish their hegemony and build a new social image of the Mexican as an athlete, although among its indigenous population, such as the Rarámuris, foot races were already part of their culture and traditions. The Juegos Patrios brought the races closer to the people. Its athletes began to excel in the longer distance events compared to the USA athletes, who used to prevail in the shorter events.

For the first marathon we should wait until 1910, when it was planned to organize an athletic event to commemorate the first centenary of National Independence. Among the events that were going to be organized, the runner Eligio Castañón suggested to include a marathon.

To see if participants would be suitable for this challenge, a 25-kilometer race was organized as a rehearsal, which turned out to be a success.

Thus, on Sunday, November 27, 1910, the first “official” marathon was held in Mexico City, over about 40 kilometres (42,195 meters had not yet been stipulated). Ten Mexican athletes participated, and the winner was Juan Ruiz, from Oaxaca, in 3h05m, who was accompanied on the podium by Gustavo Ramírez, from Xochimilco (3h30m), and Juan Medrano, from Guanajuato (3h36m). Only 5 participants managed to finish in a race where the winner was awarded a gold watch.

As a curiosity, the oldest marathon that is still celebrated in Mexico is the Rover Marathon, which has been run since 1954. Framed in the category of trail, its route departs south of Mexico City to finish at the Centenario Stadium, in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos.

Regarding the Mexico City Marathon, its first edition was in 1983, taking the Boston and New York marathons as referencee. On September 25, 1983, 6,500 men and 500 women started at the Hermanos Rodríguez Autodrome, following a route that ended at the Monument to the Revolution. The winners were Casimiro Reyes in the men’s category (2.29.35) and María del Carmen Cárdenas (3.05.00).

Since then, many Mexican athletes have stood out at the international level in the Philipides event, but that is a different story.



Por la patria y por la raza. El surgimiento del atletismo y el primer maratón en la Ciudad de México (1892-1910). Miguel Ángel Esparza Ontiveros. Letras históricas no.21 Guadalajara sep. 2019  Epub 24-Abr-2020.

El Maratón de la Ciudad de México: un enfoque desde la Geografía Cultural. Proyecto de Tesis para obtener el título de Licenciado en Geografía. Bruno David Contreras Patiño. UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL AUTÓNOMA DE MÉXICO

Juan Ruiz, arriving to finish area and receiving a gold watch as trophy (El Tiempo Ilustrado, nº 49, December 4 1910)


Wanjiru running to victory in Beijing 2008 Olympics

"The speed of the falling water is constant. I think that is how a marathon race is supposed to be run on both sides of the halfway mark - consistently, like the water through the falls" Samuel Wanjiru

Sunday August 24 at 7.30 was the scheduled time for the men´s marathon at the Olympics of Beijing 2008. Ninety-five athletes from 56 nations were ready for the start.

From the top-10 finishers in Athens 2004, only the defending champion, the Italian Stefano Baldini was returning. That meant a lot of new faces, but not at all newcomers to the distance.

The Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Gebrselassie, world record holder, decided not to run the marathon due to air pollution levels and save himself for Berlin, where he had established the WR of 2.04.53 the year before. Despite his absence in the marathon distance, he competed again in the 10000 metres, where he managed to finish 6th in an event where he had been Olympic Champion in 1996 and 2000.

Kenya had never won an Olympic Marathon title yet. Famous for its distance runners, it was sending its strongest team ever: Martin Lel (x3 London and x2 NY winner), Luke Kibet (World Champion 2007) and Samuel Wanjiru. Besides the runners from Ethiopia, already with 4 golds in the marathon distance at Olympic level, other top contenders were Abderrahim Goumri from Morocco (national record 2.05.30 obtained in London 2007) or Ryan Hall from the USA (2.06.17).

Samuel Wanjiru was born in Nyahururu, a town in the Rift Valley, in Kenya, and was brought up in poverty by his single mother, from whom he took the surname. Unable to afford the school fees, he had to abandon school when he was 12. After winning a cross-country race Samuel, only 15, moved to a high school in Sendai, Japan. He had success on the Japanese cross-country circuit and in 2005, after graduation, joined the Toyota Kyūshū athletics team, coached by 1992 Olympic marathon silver medallist Koichi Morishita. He continued his progression and aged 18 broke in the space of two weeks the 10000 metres world junior record (26.41,75) and the half marathon world record (Rotterdam, 59.16). He still managed to break again the half marathon world record to 58.33 in 2007, improving the 58.53 from Gebrselassie in 2006. Debuting in the marathon distance Wanjiru got the third fastest debut marathon ever at the 2007 Fukuoka Marathon with 2:06:39. He arrived at Beijing with high expectations.

Just as soon as the marathon start Kenyans decide to run at world record pace, a strategy unusual for championships.  Running sub 3 minutes kilometres only a small group can follow them. Ten runners at front, mostly from African origins, cross together the 10k in 29.25. Ryan Hall is already falling behind.

After the 10k the pace slow down slightly, but it is only a matter of time before Wanjiru attack again after the kilometre 16. This attack leaves only 5 runners at front, that will probably fight for the medals: Lel and Wanjiru from Kenya, Jaouad Gharib from Morocco, Deriba Merga from Ethiopia, and Yonas Kifle from Eritrea. They cross the 20k in 59.10, and the half marathon in 1.02.34. The WR is still in sight.

Between the 25 and 30k Merga and Kifle do a series of attacks with the goal of reducing the group even more. The 30k os crossed in 1.29.15 with only Merga, Wanjiru and Gharib in the front.

Wanjiru runs easily, waiting for the right moment. Around the 37k he makes his move, with a short but decisive attack. In 3 kilometres he opens a gap of 18s with Gharib, while Merga, who has slowed spectacularly, is losing around 40s per kilometre until kilometre 40, which Wanjiru crosses in 1.59.54.

Nobody can catch Wanjiru. The Olympic victory is his. Twenty-one years old and his third marathon, but more importantly, the first gold for Kenya in an event such important as this. His winning time of 2.06.32 improves in almost three minutes the previous Olympic record set by Carlos Lopes in Los Angeles 1984.

The silver medal is for Gharib with 2.07.16 with bronze going to Tsegay Kebede from Ethiopia with 2.10.00. Ryan Hall finishes only 10th, with Baldini being 12th and Chema Martínez, the best Spanish, 16th with 2.14.00.

But Wanjiru´s successes in the marathon weren´t over. In 2009 he won in London with 2.05.10, and Chicago with 2.05.41, breaking the course record in both events. The WR of Gebrselassie seemed achievable in a near future. In 2010 he revalidated his title in Chicago with 2.06.24. Although his future seemed bright, destiny had different plans. In May 2011 he died after falling from a balcony at his home in unclear circumstances: murder, suicide, or an accident? It was never clear. His personal life wasn´t as successful as his running career. Alcohol related problems and various familiar issues ended a promising career when Samuel died, aged 24, depriving the marathon scene of one of its more talented runners.



Beijing Birds Nest Olympics track