At km 30, which is when the man with the mallet is supposed to appear, ten African men and four African women are still fighting for the victory of the Barcelona marathon.
The news is magnificent.
He tells us that the test organizers are doing their homework. They do it in the hiring of elite runners – year after another the records fall; among men the 2h04m is already caressed, and among women the barrier of 2h20m has been broken–, and also in attention to the athlete.
The Zurich Marató Barcelona enjoys the Gold Label, a distinction that places it in a second division in the ranking of the best world marathons. Above it is only the Platinum label, where the six majors (Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo) shine, and also other wonders such as Amsterdam, Sydney and Valencia.
In Barcelona, both groups of African men and women finally broke up and the Bahraini Marius Kimutai (2h05m06s) and the Ethiopian Zeineba Yimer Worku (2h19m44s) prevailed, and both records are accompanied by the test record (in the case of women , the discount is three and a half minutes).
The day is remarkable, and that already seems inevitable. To the international charm that the city offers, is added the blessing of the route.
Within its capacities, everything is already studied.
Gone are the days when the marathon runner would advance from Mataró, following the national highway, to enter the city from the north and, almost stealthily, project itself towards Montjuïc before slogging up the hill to reach the finish line at the Estadi Olímpic!
Today it works differently.
The layout is reaching its limit of possibilities.
Year after year, technicians meticulously check it. They analyze it with square and square, where the unevenness is reduced, where the widest avenues are outlined, without curves, well paved, field to run. Even the ascent up Paral·lel, today considered an Everest, is camouflaged.
Thousands of curious people try their luck. On this occasion, 11,450 marathon runners (55% of them foreigners) have done it, and this data goes back to pre-pandemic figures.
Even so, altimetrically, Barcelona is a challenge. Whoever wants to flatten must advance parallel to the sea or Collserola.
Every Barcelona runner knows it.
These circumstances, and the budget of the test, prevent him from rising to greater heights. Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele or Brigid Kosgei move in impossible numbers for a project like the one from Barcelona.
Nor do the best Spanish marathoners venture. Ayad Lamdassem, Daniel Mateo, Javi Guerra and the surprising Marta Galimany and Meritxell Soler prefer to seek the Olympic minimums in routes that generate greater sports guarantees and greater economic returns: Valencia and Seville are their favorite destinations.
The barrage of brands (the first four broke the men's record; four women also did it) takes Barcelona one step further: four editions have been broken, breaking records. However, the test needs to find its identity: where is it going? Should you keep looking for the limit in terms of brands? Or maybe it should be projected in another direction, betting on duels between local athletes and aspiring to the figure of 20,000 participants?