Try running for 2 hours and 59 minutes at a pace of 4m15s per kilometer. If it seems little to you, try it. If they succeed, they will have completed a marathon in less than three hours. At the same time, make your training compatible with your work and/or academic life. And they don't charge anything for it. It's possible? Yes, and so much. It's simple? No, it is not. It requires mentality, preparation, quality and good legs. This is the goal for next Sunday for Miriam Picañol and Claudia Bigas. Both will be at the starting line of Plaza España in the Barcelona Marathon. They are two popular athletes who have between eyebrows to lower that barrier. Although a large female presence is more frequent in the half marathon, more and more women are daring to extend their distances. Different studies indicate that the more resistance a test requires, the difference between men and women is proportionally less.
Both are somehow related to the Health sector. Picañol, 43 years old and a resident of Pineda de Mar, works as an administrator at the Creu Groga in Calella. Bigas, a 26-year-old from Barcelona, is studying for a PhD in Biomedicine at the UB. For the first of her it will be her third challenge in the 42 kilometers and 195 meters. For the second she will mean her premiere.
“I did the Barcelona marathon in 2021, the first after the pandemic, and last December I ran the one in Malaga. In Barcelona I finished in 3 hours, 11 minutes. In Malaga I surpassed myself and finished in 3h05. I want to go below three hours. I don't have them all with me but the preparation has gone well and I will try. I was injured after the marathon in 2021 and that is why I was not in a position to do the one in May 2022. But I feel strong ”, Miriam Picañol says, laughing.
Claudia Bigas is just as optimistic: “I have the prudence but also the enthusiasm of the rookie. I think my body can respond well. So far I have done more than five half marathons on asphalt and they have gone well. In Seville, Granollers and Barcelona I finished with a good feeling and now, for the first time in the marathon”. In Barcelona she finished in 1h20m and in Granollers (it stings uphill, especially the first part) in 1h22m. Times that transferred to the marathon bring him closer to her goal, but this mythical distance often has nothing to do with the exact sciences. “Those who know tell me that it is not crazy with those times in a half marathon to go below three hours, and with relative comfort, but we'll see. The body is not mathematical”, warns Bigas.
If you like the experience, expect to repeat. Because the marathon engages. Picanol knows it well. “This year I will do three. Barcelona, Madrid, which everyone tells me is a very tough track (it's like that), and Valencia, where the route is more favorable and that's where I want to go full speed”.
While Bigas has been competing in 2023, Picañol has not done so since December in Malaga. He laughs when told that this is what Kipchoge preaches. Train a lot and compete selectively: "I train six days a week, to prepare for the marathon I have loaded between 100 and 110 kilometers a week." "I do about 50 kilometers a week and I combine it with a bike and classes in the gym," Bigas intervenes.
What they do agree on, but in a different way, is the test that every good marathoner must try before the race, the one known as the long run, 30 kilometers, to check sensations and calculate objectives. "I have made four runs of 30 to prepare it, the last one on March 4," says Picañol. “Me, one and with good feelings. I did it at 4m20s until kilometer 20 and the last 10 at 4. I want to go to 4m10s-4m15s in the marathon”, says Bigas.
They are popular athletes from different generations but both are alike in that they laced their shoes relatively recently. “I started running five years ago,” Picañol intervenes. I was a smoker and I quit smoking and I started running and running and running, more and more because when you run you get hooked and you want to improve yourself, you want to go further, I love that spirit of improvement”. Bigas has less accumulated experience. “I started running with the covid, when they only let us out to exercise in some strips. I have always done a lot of sport. The time to run is my time, when I have my head to myself. It supposes a liberation. I ran my first race, a mountain one, and got on the podium. He gave me an adrenaline rush, he got me, like that until now”.
The two usually train alone, they are not part of any team, although Bigas does travel with a group of friends to some races. Picañol alternates the beach with the strip and Bigas the beach with the mountains. Until Sunday, the one from Pineda will be able to explain to the one from Barcelona what it feels like to be in a marathon. “I recommend running at least one because the feeling of reaching the finish line is something that cannot be explained, you have to live it and feel it, it is the end of a long preparation because the hardest thing is not the race but the three months of preparation, day to day. It cannot be narrated with words”.