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Bari Half Marathon
|IAAF Road Race Label||-|
|Distances:||21K, 10K, 5K|
|Type of race:||Flat, fast, city run|
|Time limit||2 hour 45 min (21K), 1 hour 30 min (10K)|
I decided to run the Bari Half Marathon for several reasons: first of all, it is the part of Italy where I am from. This has been only my second Half Marathon in Italy, and I like the idea to combine a trip to my family to a running event.
Secondly, the weather conditions are usually great at the end of October here. Actually, “too great”, as the weekend showed temperatures well above 20 °C. This is actually not bad, as spending a weekend on the beach is not the worse way of preparing an half marathon ;-).
A third reason: I enrolled my sister to run the 10 km event. As a non-runner, she freaked out when she got the confirmation Email – of course I didn’t tell her! – but, loving challenges as much as I do, she decided to embrace it and lace her shoes.
The booking process
The website is clearly pointing to the booking process, but it is not user friendly as many others. For example, I found the course only on the Facebook page (big mistake!) and the rules are in a PDF document: a good FAQ section would help.
But in general it is easy to enroll and make your way in! As per all events in Italy, you are required to show a medical certificate in special form, certifying you are fit for athletics. Although this rule was changed recently, we encourage always to contact organizations beforehand, to avoid last minute surprises.
Expo and start line were in the very historical center of Bari, near the town hall. Getting there by car (included parking) was easier then expected. Good thing, as using public transport can be not ideal: I recommend to book accommodation in walking distance from the starting point. Options, on that regard, are many.
The pickup process is smooth – not unexpected, as the number of participants is below 2000 runners, summing 21K and 10K. You get few sponsor products – including a shampoo or a deodorant. The running T-shirt this year was not impressing me for the quality.
One remark on the medal for the organization: I don’t like (and I am not the only one) the fact that the medals of their 5-6 events organized in Italy are very similar, changing slightly the chromatic choice. I think a touch of customization maybe differentiating with some of the monument that each city has, would give the desire of collecting all. Why not to bundle these events into a contest, with final medal for who runs all? Just suggestions on the way.
If you like running by the sea, this race is for you. The path is flat, and 3/4 of the half marathon develops on the beautiful seaside of Bari. This includes the old town harbor, that will hit your nose with its smell of fish :-D.
The last half goes through the beautiful Lungomare up and down. This year, with temperatures above average for the season and around 25 °C (75 °F), these last 10K under the sunshine were challenging.
Refreshing stations with energy drink, water, sponges and few fruit bites covered well the course.
This is not a remarkable event for participation of public. Besides few curious, occasional supporters, the course develops without much support. The start/finish zone has some animation (and a beautiful stage for pictures after race). I would have liked some musical support along the way: bands, DJs, even better simple amateur shows. A kind feedback for next year edition.
One advantage of having a limited participation of runners compared to big events, is the quality of the pictures you can get 🙂 I must say the coverage of photographers is great and I received some very neat, beautiful pics. The rage picture package is not complimentary for this race: the full package is costing about 20 €; a single digital picture about 5 €.
I improved my personal best by almost 2 minutes! (To be fair, I ran also 250 meters less than in Copenhagen, so the final pace was only 1 second per minute faster… but every meter counts!) the flat course and the lack of people (helping selecting the better paths) helped. The hot conditions worked on the other way, but this was well above average.
I am very proud of my sister achievement. She completed the 10K with great feelings, a good time for being her first time, and that feeling that this is only the first time. I am sure she will challenge herself again!
If you want to try a personal best, this race should be added on your bucket list. Although there are big margins of improvements, but it has the great advantage of being in an area of Italy you would love to visit!
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