Seville might not be wholly synonymous with marathon-running just yet but the Zurich Maraton de Sevilla is an emerging race on the European road-running map.
This year’s edition reached full capacity more than three weeks before race day on 21 February and the long-standing event on the Spanish calendar also boasts a five-star certification from European Athletics.
We give you six reasons why every marathon-runner should try the Zurich Maraton de Sevilla!
Need for speed
Forget Berlin and Rotterdam! Seville can offer the flattest marathon course in Europe. The new-and-improved route doesn’t rise more than ten metres above sea-level which makes it a perfect course for the speedsters targeting quick times. For posterity, more than 700 runners broke the three hour-mark in last year’s race.
It’s not unusual for the temperatures in Spain’s fourth largest city to climb above 40C in summer but pleasingly, race day itself is devoid of these unpleasant extremes. Temperatures for last year’s race hovered at a benign 15C and what’s more, Seville only experiences an average of six days of rainfall in February.
See the sights
While the fast and flat course is one of the selling points, the race by no means lacks points of interest en route. Runners will pass ‘La Giralda’ - one of the largest cathedrals in the world which dates back to the Moorish period - as well as the La Real Maestranza bullring, the Torre del Oro and the Plaza de Espana. Star Wars fans might be interested to know the latter was featured in two of the franchise’s films.
The marathon starts and finishes inside the Estadio de la Cartuja which is steeped in sporting history. The stadium hosted the 1999 IAAF World Championships where Michael Johnson set the world 400m record of 43.18 and Spanish hero Abel Anton won his second world marathon title in front of a packed house. A Spanish team led by Rafael Nadal also claimed the Davis Cup title on a makeshift tennis court pitched in this stadium in 2004 and 2011.
Value for money
If you plan ahead, runners can secure a place on the start-line for the modest sum of 35 euros although be warned: the entry fee does increase in price as the deadline approaches. But cheap flights into nearby Malaga and reasonably priced hotels make Seville a great destination for runners operating on a shoestring budget.
The goody bag is one of the perks of finishing any race and the organisers have gone to town with theirs. Each finisher will receive a New Balance running jacket and a bottle of Andalucian beer for runners to toast their triumphs.
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