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Features

07 February 2017, 12pm

The circuit through city’s most emblematic spots, the old district of Vegueta and the Avenida Marítima along the Atlantic, grabs the attention of both amateur and elite athletes

Winter balm for runners

Gran Canaria Marathon
Sun 22 January 2017

The Gran Canaria Marathon is the Canary Islands’ most important athletics event. It brings together over 40,000 runners and fans. Few places can host a marathon in winter but January is the best time for the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with the average daily temperature varying from 15–21C.

The Gran Canaria Marathon is one of the most anticipated events in the sports calendar. The whole island gets involved and there are different activities over the course of this fantastic festival of sport.

The Cajasiete Gran Canaria Marathon was held between 19–22 January, a weekend dedicated to runners and to athletics. More than 2000 foreign runners flocked to the island days before the race to experience the atmosphere surrounding the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, the marathon’s starting point and where all the activities take place. It is one of the city’s most visited areas, with Las Canteras Beach as its main attraction.

Runners could choose from three distances: the 10km, half marathon or the title event, the marathon. Over 6300 runners signed up for one of these events. There are other supporting races for families and fans who want to share the fun. These were the 3km Gran Canaria Accessible, based on principles of social inclusion, and the Islacao Mini Marathon for children. Over 7000 people took part in these two races.

The Gran Canaria Marathon has built its reputation by treating runners well. They are the stars of the event and the organisers acknowledge it. The 2017 race featured a new course. The new event organisers committed themselves to one full and flatter lap. The certified circuit grabbed the attention of both amateur and elite athletes. It passes the city’s most emblematic spots, runs through the old district of Vegueta, the city centre and the Avenida Marítima along the Atlantic. Runners were able to improve their times by taking advantage of the flat and attractive course and some of the world’s warmest winter conditions — a balmy 20C.

Record numbers took part: over 1400 registered for the marathon and for the first time ever over 1000 runners finished the race, ranking it in the top 10 in Spain. The Gran Canaria Marathon is part of the Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) national calendar and a member of AIMS. This lends greater formality to the event and assures the necessary quality standards. The event is a must for sport enthusiasts. In January Gran Canaria welcomes runners from around the world to run their Grand Marathon.

The Cajasiete Gran Canaria Marathon takes great care to provide quality services. One of the highlights is the post-race area set up exclusively for the runners. Different refreshment stations are available as well as a physical therapy tent with almost a hundred professionals ready to look after runners. There were also swimming pools for hydrotherapy treatment.

The Perpetuo Socorro Hospital was in charge of coordinating the medical services, providing medical care at different points along the course and setting up a field hospital near the finish line area. The Gran Canaria Marathon’s medical services are on a par with the best marathons in Spain.

One of the Gran Canaria Marathon’s most interesting features was the Expodeporte, the sports expo that takes place on the days prior to the marathon alongside the race registration where runners pick up their race numbers.

The expo provides an opportunity for institutions, companies and fans to meet and for visitors to see the latest innovations. 20,000 people visited the expo which also hosted specialist workshops where professionals involved in athletics gave talks and seminars and shared their experiences and knowledge with the fans.

The Cajasiete Gran Canaria 2017 Marathon caught the media’s eye. National and international press covered the event, mainly because of the increased number of runners and heightened anticipation.
The local television channel, Televisión Canaria, broadcasted five hours of live coverage, emphasising the channel’s commitment to capture every aspect of the competition. The national broadcaster Televisión Española carried nationwide reports on its sports channel Teledeporte.

Mathew Kipsaat broke the men’s course record and there was a popular local victory for the Canarian Aroa Merino in the women’s race. Another local, Jose Carlos Hernandez, won the men’s half marathon while women’s winner Esther Ramos came from the mainland.

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