VALENCIA MARATHON & 1/2 MARATHON:40th ANNYVERSARY, THE 2020 GREAT RACE.

VALENCIA MARATHON & 1/2 MARATHON: 40th ANNYVERSARY, THE 2020 GREAT RACE. Obviously this 2020 has been difficult for all of us, and not different for race organizers and athletes, so the simple fact that next weekend, 6th December, Constitution’s Day in Spain, the Valencia Marathon will take place with 220 elite runners in the Marathon distance and 40 in the 1/2 Marathon it is already a Victory and a reason to cellebrate.

Valencia Elite Edition Marathon: all set to be this year’s best world race. From the Organization, audiences are asked to follow the race in television and launch your messages of encouragement from the balconies.

The event will be one of the few to be held, after the long break without competitions caused by Covid-19, and in it more than 100 athletes from 43 different countries will race to achieve the Olympic qualifying time (2h11:30 for men and 2h29:30 for women) for participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. In addition, three other athletes will do all they can to ensure their presence at the Paralympic Games, also to be held next summer.

Many of the 100 athletes seeking a place in the Olympics are members of the MyBest42 programme, which began in 2015 under the name Road To Rio in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which aims to attract as many sub-elite athletes as possible.  Due to the speed of the Valencia circuit and the suspension of marathons around the world, the Elite Edition on 6 December is one of the few options for achieving a validated qualifying time for participation in the Olympics next summer.

In addition, the top ten finishers, both men and women, will obtain – provided they are selected by their federations- direct Olympic classification thanks to the World Athletics regulations for Platinum Label races. This is the first year the Valencia Marathon is being run after being awarded this label and it is one of only 13 races worldwide with this distinction.

The runners hoping to achieve this direct placement by finishing in the top 10 include the following leading athletes selected by Marc Roig: Birhanu Legese (2h02:48), with the third best time in history; Kinde Atanaw (2h03:51), first placed in 2019; Leul Gebreselasie (2h04:02), winner in 2018; Lawrence Cherono (2h04:06); Kaan Kigen Özbilen (2h04:16), European record-holders in the marathon, Lelisa Desisa (2h04:45), current world champion at the distance; and Jemal Yimer, who is expected to shine in his debut at 42.195 kilometres. In total, there are 21 athletes with times under 2h07:00 and 35 with times under 2h10:00.

In the women’s category, the main runners include Ruti Aga (2h18:34), Birhane Dibaba (2H18:35), Degitu Azemiraw (2H19:26), Zeineba Yimer (2H19:28) and Tigist Girma (2H19:52), all with times below 2h20, and the Kenyan Fancy Chemutai, who will debut at the distance.

Other outstanding athletes will also be running including Joyciline Jepkosgei (2h22:38), who in 2017 beat the WR in the Valencian 21K, Joan Chelimo (1h05:24 – 21k) and Peres Jepchirchir (1h05:16), who gained a brand new world record in the half marathon in women-only races in the world championships in Gdynia (Poland) on 17 October. In total, there will be 28 women with registered times below 2h30:00.

Spanish athletes

At the national level, 55 Spanish athletes (33 men and 22 women) have been selected by José Antonio Redolat, the national elite manager, who will take to the starting line on 6 December in search of the qualifying time that takes them to the Olympic Games, set by the RFEA at 2h11:13 in the men’s category.

Those chosen to run through the streets of Valencia will be Hamid Ben Daoud (2h07:33), Ayad Lamdassem (2h09:28), Iván Fernández Anaya (2h09:55), Camilo Santiago (2h10:02), Houssame Eddine Benabbou (2h10:45), Daniel Matthew (2h10:53), Iraitz Arrospide (2h10:59), Juan Antonio ‘Chiki’ Pérez (2h11:50), in addition to the much-anticipated debut by Toni Abbey at the distance.

For its part, the women’s race will see the likes of Marta Galimany (2h29:02), Elena Loyo (2h30:57), Irene Pelayo (2h32:15), Marisa Casanueva (2h32:22), Gema Barrachina (2h33:29) and Alicia Pérez (2h35:17), among others, and the debutantes Teresa Urbina and Nuria Lugueros, for whom great things are expected.

Paralympic athletes

The event will feature participation by three Spanish Paralympic athletes who will be seeking their passport to the Tokyo Paralympic Games. In the men’s category, Alberto Suárez (2h21:47) and Gustavo Nieves (2h26:47) and, in the women’s category, Mari Carmen Paredes (2h59:22) join the list of athletes celebrating the Valencia Marathon Elite Edition, the lifeline for their goals for participating in Tokyo 2021. In the case of these paralympic athletes, the race, once again, has the support of the ‘La Caixa’ Foundation, to help with their inclusion in this event.

THE RECORDS

THE COURSE

#RESPONSIBLEMARATHON

#MaratónResponsable in Spanish. During the presentattion, the organization encourages the public to follow the race on Sunday per television or through maratonvalencia.com to achieve a #MaratónResponsable. In addition Barnabas encouraged the neighbors to throw their messages of encouragement from the balconies and decorate them with test T-shirts. “This test is perhaps the most shocking and the most big, because your stadium is the street, and now we have a chance to prove it’s rigor and responsibility that will give us the prestige we need to prove once again that we are the city of running,” he concluded. Enrique Vidal, general manager of the City of Arts and Sciences, where he is the goal of the test, wanted to thank the Organization “for making it possible, because the easy thing would have been not to celebrate. Let’s move on, we hope that many years more, and here will be all the runners welcome.”

COVID-19 PROTOCOL

The Valencia Marathon and the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP Elite Edition will be held with the strictest safety measures and a firm commitment to respecting all the health regulations. In addition to the need to restrict crowd numbers and reduce the course (two laps for the marathon and one for the half), the event will impose a series of mandatory rules including the mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene and maintaining a safe distance throughout the event. All the professional athletes and their closest team (managers and coaches), as well as the organiser’s staff, will undergo various PCR tests in the days leading up to the race to rule out participation by anyone who is Covid-19 positive. All the samples will be analysed in the Bionos Biotech laboratory, located in the Biopolo facilities at the new La Fe Hospital in Valencia. In addition, the safety measures will be tightened in the bubble hotels in which the athletes will be staying, since they will not be sharing a room with other athletes and they will eat their meals alone in their rooms to further minimise the risk of infection.

4.0 VALENCIA MARATHON VIRTUAL EDITION

Although nothing is the same as actually running the marathon and crossing the finish line, the Valencia Marathon also wanted to give the opportunity to the thousands who registered in 2020 to turn their registration into participation in the 4.0 Valencia Marathon Virtual Edition, to complete the 42kilometres in one of two ways: two half marathons on two days or running the distance over 4 days. Close to 1000 participants chose to keep this marathon flame alive in 2020 rather than defer their registration to 2021 or apply for a refund. They have all received a pack delivered to their home that included the Luanvi T-shirt for this special edition, the medal, the bib, a training plan from Serrano CA, two packs of Enervit gels, the official magazine, EDP gym sack, a wristband and dark chocolate minibars from Chocolates Valor.


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Post by Héctor Rubio for Trailrunningspain