Wednesday, May 7, 2014

La Behobia - San Sebastián

La Behobia is probably the most popular of popular races in Spain, losing out only on numbers (30,000) to the San Silvestre Vallecana (40,000) which is run in Madrid on New Year's Eve but - allegedly - not in terms of atmosphere. And that is exactly why I am so keen to run it this year in spite of it being a non-standard distance (20 km) with "annoying hills". Having previously run the San Sebastián Half Marathon and full Marathon, I have already had a taste of the basque enthusiasm and hospitality.

The pre-registration opened today at 12 am at which point I hit "refresh" on my internet browser and was met with the unsurprising but slightly discouraging message

After persisting for a few minutes, I finally managed to get through and I now have a place reserved for which I must remember to pay (40 €!) next week.

The race itself is on the 9th of November which is one of the main reasons I haven't signed up for it for the last couple of years, as it was too close for comfort to the New York Marathon (although I do know people who did both). The last and only time I had put myself down to run it was in 2009, the year that I broke my foot: at the time it was still in plaster so I had to content myself with the t-shirt "been there but haven't done that".

It turns out that there are some changes planned to the course this year. Apart from rounding up from 19,780 to exactly 20 km (why?), it seems as though some of the hills will be slightly moderated although that remains to be seen once the profile has been published. I hadn't realized before but apparently some people race it on roller skates - not sure how they manage the hills! I've done my best to trace the new course based on a video the organizers have uploaded to the website: I get slightly more than 20 kilometers so I may have made a mistake, but this should be good enough to get an idea of the profile of the course and to compare with previous editions.

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