Valencia Half Marathon

30 - 60 €
7.4

Location

8.0/10

Track

7.0/10

Atmosphere

6.0/10

Organization

8.0/10

Budget

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast course
  • Beautiful venue
  • Good organisation

Cons

  • Cut off time only 2:30 h
  • Quickly sold out

Year of 1st edition:1988
World Athletics Label Road Race:Yes
Expected participants:20000
Distances:21K
Type of race:Flat, city run
Time limit:2h 30min (21K)

Running the Valencia half marathon can be a great idea for many reasons: let’s see some of them.

  1. It is a fast half marathon (home of several world records. If you want to try a personal best, it is a great choice, especially if you like to prepare during summer. When autumn comes, you can fly! (although not all of us work – or think – in this way!)
  2. It is Valencia, a very beautiful city, and Spain. In October can still be quite warm – which could be an issue if you are looking into point 1 above. But it is a great opportunity to spend a weekend out in a place rich of art, beauty and great food.
  3. On top of point 2, finalizing the carbo loading process with a paella valenciana is a great idea!
The booking process

Easy and smooth, good and clear website in several languages, and a good customer service. I had to reschedule the race a couple of times, since it was cancelled due to Covid-19 in 2020. The info about how to handle cancellation were clear and in the right time. I was also offered a full refund and a deferred participation. Way to go!

Unfortunately, and even though the race is open to 20.000 runners, for 2022 the race went already sold out in April: if you decide to run it, my recommendation is to book more than 6 months in advance! I got actually lucky in 2020, as I reserved my spot one week before the cap was reached.

The organization

I went to Valencia with a friend, running his third half marathon. We both ran Copenhagen Half Marathon only few weeks before (amazing race that I recommend to all!).

This 2021 edition was a Covid-19 regulated race: we had to wear the mask before the start and at the finish line, meaning that we had to carry one with us all the time. I am not sure if Covid-19 influenced the choice to have the Expo in an open area with tents, but it was well organized, although there was some queue. Few stands, but nice: I bought running Christmas gifts to some friends and siblings. 😊

I must say that something I found against the spirit of an event so highly participated, is the cut off time. The rules of the current edition state: “the maximum official time for completing the race being 2 hours 30 min. No competitor will be allowed to complete the race beyond this time limit“. I think this leaves out many beginners, or runners without a time goal. I believe a more popular cut-off time would make any event more like a party.

The course

The race is very flat and fast, as expected. The roads are  wide enough to allow 20.000 runners to do their best without bottlenecks. The runners pass by landmarks like the beautiful City of Art and Sciences, the harbor and  the historical centre.

Temperature on the high side, but still good enough to have a pleasant experience. But this is not a surprise: Spain can be quite warm in October!

Also the location and usage of bag storage, refreshment points etc. was good, as I would expect in a golden labeled organization. Chapeau!

Participation

I would have expected more entertainment and crowd, but that was not the case.

Personal sensations

I did my personal best few weeks earlier , so my hunger for results was a bit lower.

It is good to alternate races when the focus is on the chronometric result, with others when it is just about fun. The crowd, the music, but also the journey with ourselves which leads to the goal: all these things deserve the right recognition.

The race held up to some of the promises: fast, flat, well participated. I however felt like something was missing: the track was not as beautiful as the city is (you should see the waterfront). The crowd not as caliente as the Spanish people can be. Maybe I had too high expectations but the overall experience – although great – was lacking, for me, of the classical cherry on the top.

I had a good chronometric result, as I sped up in the last 3-4K when I noticed I could achieve my second best performance.
I often set some goals along the way. Do you have the same need, during a race? Or can you simply relax and focus on what is around you, maybe listening to the music, or the surrounding sounds?

On the flight back (the airport is well connected to the city, that is not that big: a weekend is a perfect to visit the area) I realized this activity was closing my 2021. A short year for running competitions, as Covid-19 caused lots of cancellations due to the restrictions.

We were back into the cold months, wondering if the fight against the virus that for about 18 months has changed the world with a pandemic, is finally over.

One thing is certain: snow, wind, darkness and cold will not stop us!

Conclusions

Valencia Half marathon is a fast, well organised race which has everything to give you a great weekend of running and entertainment. It is a perfect place to look for a personal best. Book in advance, the about 20.000 spots are usually sold out quite fast! 


Did you like this review of Valencia Half Marathon? Please read also my trip advises about things to do in Valencia, and contact me for any question!

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