One week ago I was running through the streets of Barcelona. In precisely two months I would be boarding my returning flight after I will have put over 250 kilometres of running through the desert behind me. Time really does seem to fly be these day.

Last weekend I was in Sevilla, in order to run the Marathon. Though, I have been talking enough about hours storming past us, this post would not be complete without mentioning a specific article that I came across around this time last year. It was featured in “Like The Wind”, which is running magazine consisting of handpicked and beautifully inspiring stories about running. 

About 365 days ago, whilst enjoying a freshly brewed midday-espresso, I came across an article by Jonathan Beam, which talked about his mission to run a marathon in less than three hours. It was a wonderfully written piece and had me reach out to him. Jonathan instantly replied and shared a few insights on his training and dietary regimes hat he followed and lead him to undercutting the magical three-hour barrier. Though, I did not intend to go sub-3 for this marathon, I thought it was a nice coincidence nevertheless.

So, back to Sevilla. My alarm rang at 5:30 am. I showered, before I enjoyed two slices of fresh bread with peanut butter, followed by one banana and an energy bar. Over time, I came to discover that the mentioned routine works best for me before a race. Whilst it was still dark outside, I set off to find my way to the Olympic stadium, which marked the start and finish of the race. I arrived earlier then expected, which gave me a few minutes to spare, in order to watch fellow runners. The wardrobe was located inside the halls of the stadium. I was surrounded by a smell of deep-tissue sports creme that is supposed to heat up the runner’s muscle. Men were walking up and down the hallway, some just rested their legs, other actively stretched them, all their eyes were filled with anxiety, excitement and a passion for running, no matter what bib number one had.

I put on my running shorts, vest and shoes, handed in my bag and made my way to the starting grid. After a couple of warm up runs, a few final stretches, I finally stood amongst thousands of eager runners. 8:30 am and the crowd started moving. The first few meters compared to running through a maze, as I was working myself through the mass. Fortunately enough, such did not take too long and I was able to find my rhythm pretty quickly. I set out to run each half-marathon distance with a difference of less than three minutes. In the end, it turned out that I had done exactly that, as each half-marathon took me pretty much exactly around 1:37 hours, which lead to a final time of 3:14:39.

I could not have been more happy and satisfied to see that I had undercut the 3:15 mark. However, saying that I was a little surprised at how smooth those 42,195 kilometers had felt. Throughout the entire course my body felt very good and I was able to run at a constant pace with an average heart rate of 138 bpm, which translate to under 80 per cent of my maximum. Though the atmosphere throughout the entire event was outstanding, as all the streets were packed with people, I was particularly looking forward to the last seven-ish kilometres. After passing through Parque de Maria Luisa, including Plaza De España, the route guided us through the center of Sevilla, where my expectations were more than just met. It ruled an incredible vibe, as people were screaming, shouting, clapping, music was playing and drums were being played. It reminded me of the Madrid Marathon, or the infamous Alp D’Huez stage at the Tour De France, as only two to three runners were able to run alongside each other.

I had a final blink at my watch and knew that I was able to complete the Sevilla Marathon in under 3:15 hours. It felt like that as I was soaking up the energy of the crowds, such transformed into additional fuel and gave me a final boost. I knew that if I wanted to achieve my goal, I would need to push a bit harder and increase my space. Step-by-step I came closer to the finish line. Eventually, I sprinted down the tunnel into the Olympic stadium, around 300 meters on the track, and then I crossed the line. I hit the stop-button and saw 3:14 hours and a few seconds being displayed on my watch, which later had been officially confirmed as 3:14:39. Sub-3 I will be with you soon.