We did not plan to participate in another marathon this year, but the experience of running in Copenhagen was fun, and we decided to repeat it sooner. Malaga was a good option as the weather is good for running there, even in winter.
It was the 31st edition of the Malaga half-marathon. There are many things I liked about this event. They have an official 4* hotel, and the price to stay there is 90 Eur/night alone in a room with breakfast included. This is an excellent discount of about 40 Eur/night on booking.com for the same hotel. On the day of the race, you have late check-out until 4PM to allow runners to take a shower and recover after the race before leaving for home. The organizers take pictures of the participants during the race, and you can buy all the photos later for 19 Eur if you want. Finishing inside a stadium is lovely, with people cheering from the tribune. The course is flat, with just 6 meters difference between the race’s lowest and highest points.
I did not like that you turn 90 degrees left immediately after the start, and people had to stop there because of a bottleneck. You start running and immediately stop because of that. As a result, I ran my first km in 6 minutes, compared with an average of 5’20″/km for the whole race. It was also hot weather that day, November 13th.
The race was perfect for me despite the first kilometer and the need to recover that lost time. I was hoping for my best time this year, below 1:54, but I knew that I couldn’t do much better because of the injury that limited my training. I did not put pressure on myself, just enjoyed the run. This race went according to my plan, with a slower start and constantly increasing speed throughout the distance.
The start and finish are close to the airport. The participants run on the street next to the beach towards the city center for 10-11 km and then return. It is a race on asphalt but near the beach. You enjoy the sea breeze and see the waves. Because it’s a flat race, the elite runners finish it in 1 hour or even less. Also, 50% of the finishers had a time better than 1:52:30, which makes it a speedy race.
Unfortunately, a 58-year-old runner died after finishing the race, as I read later that day the news. It was the first time since I ran half marathons that such a tragic event happened in a race where I ran. Statistics say that in marathon races, 1 runner dies for every 150000 finishers, while for half-marathon, the death rate is 40% lower. The advantages that running brings to one’s health are worth taking this minimal risk.
This was my 5th half-marathon in 2022 and the one where I got my best result in 1:53:10. The rest were in 1:54 except for Krakow, where being injured, I had to stay with 2:00. I learned my lesson after the mistake I made when preparing for Krakow half-marathon. I took a break for a week before preparing for Malaga, which was a good idea. This time, the Voltaren and Nurofen were enough for a race without pain before the start. My focus was not on time but on reducing the pain and enjoying the race.
In long-distance running, you must learn from your mistakes to avoid suffering.
As always, many thanks to my coach Stefan Oprina who provided me training programs remotely and discussed the plans and strategy for each run! He has done that for the past 5 years. A coach is vital for people who intend to run many long-distance races.
I am happy that I could finish five half-marathon races this year, and I hope that by the end of 2023 to run at least one half-marathon in less than 1:50. I know what training needs to be done to reach that level as I had run 3 times half marathons in less than 1:50 in 2018 and 2019.
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