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Valencia Marathon 2018 Review

I ran a marathon, 26.2 miles!! 

On Sunday I took part in the 38th Valencia Marathon and I can honestly say it is the proudest thing I have ever done. 

Please remember this review is written by someone who finished the marathon with a 4:59:50 time. If you are a faster runner you may have a completely different experience as whenever I saw the faster runners it always looked slightly more congested than where I was. 

How Much Does it Cost? 

I entered on the early bird special and it cost €45 a complete bargain in my opinion!! 

Pre Race 

I arrived in Valencia on the Friday evening and went straight to the expo. I saw the finish line for the first time and I started crying. I felt so emotional, months of hard work and dedication to the cause had come down to one finish line. I sat and looked at it and thought of all my training runs wishing my friends were there with me. I picked up my race number, finishers bag, finishers t-shirt and bought myself a new pair of running shorts and a jacket. It was all so organised, there was no waiting time at all. You also got the opportunity to get your photo on the finish line. 

On the morning of the marathon I grabbed a taxi picked up my friend Karen and went to the start line, there were a lack of portaloos (especially toilet roll, always take your own!). There were thousands of runners there from all over the world, I loved hearing all the different languages, there was the most amazing sunrise it helped keep my mind off what was about to come.

Then it was time to make our way to the start line it was chaos, I was in the last pen and there was lots of pushing and shoving, brought back all the feelings of the GNR, thankfully the race wasn't as crowed.  

The Course 

Once I was thought the start and the elbows flying from all the other runners were out the way, nerves settled and the excitement took over. It was busy for the first 4 miles, no where near as bad as the GNR but I did find myself weaving in and out of runners to try and find my happy place. I was concentrating on not getting carried away and rushing off. 

The scenery en route was absolutely stunning. The heat (which I was worried about pre race) was non existent for the first 20 miles, the blue skies were tricking my mind that it wasn't actually December and I was just taking it all in that I was actually running a marathon.

The route takes you out the city and towards to beach before bringing you back in land and through the well supported streets which are great when you're feeling good but at 32 kilometres and a man at the side of the road said "only 10k to go" I could have nutted him. The crowds were fantastic, encouraging you in all kinds of languages, as everyone had their countries flags on their bibs a lot of people were shouting "come on team GB" made me feel like I was part of the olympics. 

Come mile 8 I was running with pretty much no one around me and it was bliss. I'd made a friend by this point, Simon and we were encouraging each other until he told me to push on at around mile 11, it was nice to have a bit of company with someone who loved parkrun as much as I do. 

I ran the first full half and decided to give myself a little rest at mile 13 where Simon patted me on the back and told me it was too early to walk. I was so glad he did as it gave me the boost I needed. 

The water stations were every 5k which also had cups of powerade with gels dotted about too. I did take water on at every stop as I was worried the heat would get to me. It did but not till mile 20 where I wished the water was every 2 miles so I held on to my water bottle and drank when I needed too. 

Come mile 21 I was run/walking as I was in pain, if I could go back I would tell myself to just carry on running, the pain was there if I ran or walked. 

The final kilometre was full of supporters, I ran past one woman and she shouted "you only have 1k to go suck it up and it will be over" so I pushed on mainly to get it all over with as by this point I was in so much pain I just wanted it to stop. 

When I hit the blue mat which led to the finish line I saw my watch said 4:59:34 if I kept the pace I was going it would mean my time would go over 5 hours which deep down I didn't want. I told myself no guts no glory So I let rip. I gave it absolutely everything I had and when my head told me it hurt I ignored it and sprinted as if I hadn't just ran 26.2 miles and when I stopped my watch and saw I had made it but only by 10 seconds I was so relived. 4:59:50. 

I was surprised that I didn't cry once I'd crossed the finish line, but I think I was just so relived that the pain was over I was so focused on getting a glass of champagne I forgot about the emotion. 

Post Race 

As soon as I finished I was given a foil blanket and saw my Mam and let my friends know (who were tracking me on the app) that I was over the line, but they already knew and the congratulation messages were rolling in. 

I got my goodie bag which had some nuts, powerade, water, oranges and my medal, which is a beauty! The only real complaint I have, is I hate it when the medals are in your bag. It feels so special when someone else places them around your neck, like you really have achieved something! 

I downed the water and went to try and get myself a post race beer but sadly Amstel had ran out by the time I got there, which I always find so annoying, the faster runners will have got one. They knew there would be 22,000 people running. They could have kept me one!! 

Thank fully I found my parents and we tried to get a taxi, with no luck. We walked a mile, which might not sound far but walking that mile was worse than the marathon! Thankfully we found a delicious pizza place where they served Cava! 

Now the marathon is over and the pain in my muscles have gone, I've forgot about all the complaints at mile 22 and when I said NEVER AGAIN on the Monday obviously I wasn't thinking straight because now when I look at my medal, (which I am carrying around in my coat pocket) all I can think about is doing it again, even though I'm wearing flip flops in December as my toe nails are about to drop off! 

Running the marathon is the best thing I've ever done, I honestly can't recommend it enough. You run the first 20 miles relying on your training and the final 6.2 with your heart. 

Valencia Marathon Vlog

Valencia Marathon 2018 Review 

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