Last month, Julie Dumpleton went to Barcelona for the marathon. She shares her experience in the race report below:
This was my first race outside the UK so I was a little apprehensive to say the least. However, I really needn’t have worried! I picked up the number and verified the chip at the Expo near the race start on the Saturday (passport and entry email required). The organization was superb and everything was processed ready for the next day.
The marathon is a circular route, starting and ending at the Magic Fountain at the foot of Montjuic Park. We arrived after a short Metro ride in plenty of time for the 8.30 start. Facilities were good but I found the signposting a little confusing (that could just be me!!). It was a staggered start, Barcelona (Freddy Mercury) was played each time and the competitors were showered with colored tissue paper to give a real sense of excitement.
It was a beautiful day for running, sunny but not humid. The route is fairly flat and takes in a lot of the sights in Barcelona. We ran past the Nou camp stadium, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and la Pedrera before coming back along the sea front with a welcome breeze and an amazing view. There were about 16,000 competitors but I never felt crowded. However, I was in the back pen so I don’t know how it was in the front! The support around the course was amazing with bands and enthusiastic drummers providing a welcome distraction. Feed stations were plentiful and offered a wide variety of gels,sports drinks, oranges,bananas and dates as well as plain old water! After running back parallel to Las Ramblas, the end was in sight in front of the Magic Fountain and I managed to haul myself over the line in 4:26:20 (a PB despite the pain in my hips!).
There was a fine spread of dates, walnuts and oranges at the end. The medal was actually placed around your neck, which I thought was a nice touch as it made you feel like you’d won something! My only problem at the end was not knowing the Spanish word for “bag” and walking rather painfully on what seemed like an endless circular detour to find my clothes.
All in all, an amazing experience, a well organized city marathon, well worth a go if you get the chance!