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Race previews Zurich Maratón de Sevilla

01 January 2022, 8am

Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and possessed of the flattest marathon course in the entire continent

Speed and beauty

by Alberto Hernandez

Zurich Maratón de Sevilla
Sun 20 February 2022

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To talk about the Zurich Seville Marathon is to talk about a race full of reasons why you would want to be there.

Two of them stand out: speed and beauty. It is not just any course, but the one with the lowest cumulative elevation gain of all the marathons held in Europe. There is a difference of only 10m between the lowest and the highest point of the course. There is nothing to stop you smashing your personal best on the banks of the Guadalquivir River.

In 2020, immediately before Coronavirus started disturbing our lives, the event was on the brink of being one of the top 10 marathons in the world in terms of speed (considering the winning time). It ranks number 11, up there with the great marathons we all have in mind. 1104 runners crossed the finish line before the timing clock reached 3:00:00 – an astonishing percentage of the 13,000 runners registered.

Ethiopia’s Mekuant Ayenew Gebre (2:04:46) and Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel (2:23:13) were not only the winners – they also became the course record holders of a World Athletics ‘Elite Label’ event and a European Athletics Association ‘5-star’ race. The performances in the last race of the 36 editions held to date were spectacular. Never before had more than 18 runners finished a race under 2:10:18; In Seville 28 of them did. The records piled up to supersede any prediction: most under 2:08 (14, equalling Dubai 2020), 30 under 2:11 (22 in Valencia 2019). But let’s also look at the not-so-fast runners. Apart from 10.7% of those running finishing in under three hours there were 2075 sub 3:15 (20%), 3495 sub 3:30 (34%), 5000 sub-3:45 (48.8%), 6593 sub 4:00 (64%).

Along with the promise of speed we should talk about beauty. The old town of Seville is one of the largest and most attractive in the Old Continent. It is difficult to take a step without running into some artistic wonder and the marathon passes by the most significant ones: Plaza de España, the Giralda and the Alcazar (which, together with the General Archive of the Indies, make up the trio of monuments listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites), the Torre del Oro and the Maria Luisa Park (where the start and finish line are located).

The senses are intensified by the idiosyncrasy of the Sevillian character with joy as a flag and the smile as a way of life. This marathon is a party: there are more than 20 official cheer points but this is nothing compared to the spontaneity of the locals.

Race bibs for the 2022 Marathon sold out within three months of being put on sale leaving places only for the virtual race. The good news is that the bibs for 2023 (Sunday, 19 February) will be available through the event website as soon as the current edition (on 20 February 2022) is over. Registration is still open for the new 5km which will be held the day before the marathon.

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