A portrait of Valencia and its marathon
Valencia smiled as it does every year. On the 3rd Sunday of every November the city puts on its Sunday best and welcomes the world. The Valencia Marathon is a major sporting event that year on year reinforces its connection with the Valencian population and shows the world what it is capable of.
The 35th edition of the Valencia Marathon started and finished under pristine blue Mediterranean skies and a marvelous atmosphere for runners and the crowd. The 42,195 meters of the course were lined with cheerful, vocal faces and a lot of music, humor and entertainment. Paco Boroa, president of the organizing committee declared that the joy on the face of the finishers was “the icing on the cake of an amazing day”.
The morning started early with cool temperatures, the runners congregating at the start area; warming up, stretching, chatting with their newly found running comrades. Under the grans arch of the start line on the Monteolivete bridge, thousands of stories crunched together, jostling to add to the next chapter in their sporting life. The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon held a minute’s silence to honor the victims of the Paris attacks and to recognize the French runners that had come over to run, many of them from Paris.
From the first meter of the race the runners were accompanied by an enormous crowd of Valencians who had crammed all along the race route to cheer on the runners, both elite and amateur. Not one meter without a cheer, an applause, a song; a wave of color and joy for the runners to glide on. Some of the crowd were so keen to cheer on the race leaders that they tried to keep up with them form the sidelines but ultimately had to concede that Elite running pace is something best left to the professionals.
Once the winners of the race John Mwangangi and Beata Naigambo had crossed the line and both broken records, the following runners to cross the line also added to the record breaking. Valencia established itself as La Ciudad del Running when 4 more runners came in under the Spanish Marathon record.
Not only did Valencia have the fastest ever Spanish marathon, but, also, 800 runners finished under 3 hours. This is a clear demonstration of the quality of runner that Valencia attracts and the the flat course is very fast. And, to round out the record breaking, Hassan Ahounchar ran the fourth fastest ever marathon in the Veteran M$0 category, finishing in 2h10:13.
A glorious day that started and finished with huge smiles, and elite finishing times to crown a wonderful day of sport and community. The smiles came from all angles; the runners, the winners, the volunteers, the police and emergency services who helped the seamless running of the event, the colorful locals and supporters, and most of all from the organizers of the event themselves who had exceeded their own very high expectations and standards.
An end product of immense quality and a huge sense of satisfaction that was shared with the press, who themselves have ran their own marathon; starting coverage from the Friday at the Valencia Expodeporte. An abundance of images, experiences, tales, and joy that will live on forever.