10km: The Salomon Run, Barcelona
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
April 29th 2018: I am a glutten for punishment. With my work hours and travel schedule, I find it hard to train unless I am super disciplined. So once every few months, I find I go a few weeks without training.
So during one of these periods, I unwittingly entered the Salomon Run, attracted by the fact that we would do a lap of the Olympic Stadium track on Montjuic and run through Poble Espanyol. I clearly missed the official race memo describing the number of steps it involved!
But in saying that, it was one of the most enjoyable races of 2018 for me. If you want a stand out race, this is it.
It contains everything - stairs up/down, inclines, track and trail - while running effectively a tourist trail through Montjuic:
starting at Font Magica,
climbing the stairs to the National Art Museum,
up more stairs to reach Av de l'Estadi, onwards to the back of the Olympic stadium to complete a lap of the Olympic track,
downhill Passeig Olimpic before you hit local trails,
then back up to the Palau de Sant Jordi (with a water station just before at the 5km mark),
through Poble Espanyol and
onwards around the Museum and through a park before you hit the final steps before the descent back to Font Magica.
A real killer is the amount of steps....I read somewhere over 1000. Not sure of the exact number, but they were endless and came in the most unusual places - on some occasions, we ran down a set of steps to then reclimb steps a short few metres later. Clearly this was the point!
The weather was bad with plenty water logging to avoid, but this may have made the race easier to manage than if it was a really hot day. The race was in no way easy and on the final step climbs around 9km I was certainly not running at speed. But then, on the final short steps to the finish line, the back of my calf literally buckled (after climbing up so many steps!) and if it hadn't been the finish line, I would have had no choice but stop. But thankfully it was the finish line, and I passed it just under 1 hour 10 mins. Slow, but an achievement to finish considering minimal to no training, and a great sense of achievement.
Wet from the rain, sore from the steps, but with a smile on my face!
Not only is it a rewardingly tough race, it also gave me my favourite race t-shirt of the year (written in Dec 2018!)...maybe because the t-shirt was well earned!
Refuel Stops: there was a water refuel at 5km just before looping in front of the Olympic Stadium/Palau Sant Jordi. Bottled water.
Inclines: No idea how many steps we climbed and how many steps we navigated down, but any inclines paled in significance to the stairs. As mentioned, I read somewhere 1000+steps
Course Design: While we hit some roads multiple times, it was a single 10km loop, with many stewards (well organised!) as we were in various unique places that required direction
Race Entertainment: I don't recall music out on the course and it was a wet day, so I am doubtful there was any (or at least I wasn't focused on it as I managed the steps!)