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Features eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona

09 March 2015, 3pm

Dreams, whether of the ’e’ variety or not, come true in this magic springtime event held in the Catalan capital. Last year Florence Kiplagat shocked the road running world by slicing 38 seconds off the highly-respected world record held by her Kenyan compatriot Mary Keitany. This year she went one better by shaving a further three seconds off her time of last year with a posting of 1:05:09.

A fairytale fiesta

by Laia Carod Comas

edreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona
Sun 15 February 2015

Dreams, whether of the ’e’ variety or not, come true in this magic springtime event held in the Catalan capital. Last year Florence Kiplagat shocked the road running world by slicing 38 seconds off the highly-respected world record held by her Kenyan compatriot Mary Keitany. This year she went one better by shaving a further three seconds off her time of last year with a posting of 1:05:09.

She also established marks at 15km and 20km which could be ratified as official world records. The men’s race had no runaway winner, but the podium places were fiercely contested. The top three all finished within six seconds and the winner, Tadesse Abraham, established a new Swiss national record.

But the race is not primarily about elite performance and the route comprises what could be a customised sight-seeing tour of Barcelona. More than 15,000 runners filled the streets of the city with the party-loving local populace providing a colourful backdrop.
Factors such as the climate, the gastronomy and the many cultural attractions offered by the City of Barcelona all contribute to the flavour of the event. The race route passes through the busiest parts of the city for its entire length, making it the best way to get to know the place: the Litoral zone and the Arc de Triomf are just some of the attractions.

Sport and leisure come together in this great event, which ends up with a big public celebration. Numerous bands, associations and organizations cooperate with the race organisers to provide runners and spectators with a gala atmosphere reminiscent of the city’s Olympic past.

Top runners’ times result from a flat, smooth-surfaced route with a lot of straight sections and these advantages apply equally to all other runners.

This year’s route offered some improvements over the 2014 edition. Taking advantage of road improvements made by the city the organisers introduced small changes to the route that would have made it even faster than last year.

The start and finish are located in the Passeig Pujades. The first course change comes at the beginning of the Avinguda Parallel. Runners now go straight into a three-lane boulevard and avoid the turn to the Ronda Sant Pau. The second change appears at the Poblenou, with a long straight between Pallars and Llacuna streets that affords a faster passage. What makes a course fast for front runners also makes it easier for those behind them: wider, straighter roads and fewer and smoother corners reduces crowding and bunching.

The 25th anniversary edition of the eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona started punctually at 08.45 under cloudy skies and a temperature of 10ºC. Already participation records had been surpassed with more than 15.000 runners registered, a 30% increase in foreign participation, and a 25% increase in the number of women.

Kiplagat started at a good pace (5km in 15:38, equivalent to a finishing time of 65:58) accompanied by pacemakers Marc Roig and Ezequiel Kipchichir, She reached 10km in 31.01 (65:26), 12 seconds faster than she had done a year ago. Over the next 5km she increased the pace (15:12 split) sufficiently to surpass the 15km world record, with a time of 46:13 (65:00 pace). The following 5km was slower (15:40) but she still set a new world record for 20km with 1:01:53 (65:17). The last kilometre along Passeig Pujades was the glory moment of the day, when Florence Kiplagat put in a supreme effort, at just under 3-minutes per kilometre pace, to claw back seconds and crossed the finish line in a new world record of 65:09.

She later said: “At 11km I saw that I had a chance for the record [at 15km]. [This] would have been enough, since I am preparing for the marathon. I had to [ease off] and recover a bit. At 20km I was told that I was running at record time and I could not believe it [but] I said to myself: let’s do it!”

In the men’s race some prestigious names pulled out, including second-fastest ever marathon runner Emmanuel Mutai, and double world champion Abel Kurui. A lead group of six passed 10km in 29:06 but by 15km the Swiss national Tadesse Abraham, of Ethiopian origin, was leading in 43:27 and he kept ahead to the end.

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