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Malaga Marathon - Morag Taggart

Running in the warm sun in December to the sound of parrots in the palm trees, with tapas and beer to recover. This is what brought me back to the Malaga marathon 4 years and several injuries after previously running it the year I turned 60.

I flew from a cold and rainy Glasgow to a gloriously warm and sunny Malaga on the Friday night with my sister, who ran the 5k breakfast run on Saturday morning whilst I collected my race number and goody bag at the expo. All well organised and easy to access from the city centre. 

The race started at 8.30 on Sunday, a short 10 min walk from our accommodation on the lovely Plaza Merced. As we approached the start area along with a multinational crowd of runners the nerves started to kick in, but I was soon in my time pen with 10,000 other runners and we were off!

After a short circuit in the city, we ran out along past the marina, looping back to begin running eastwards along the coast beside La Malagueta beach. So far the route had been flat and temperatures in the low teens – perfect. Maybe too perfect, as checking my splits, I realised I was a bit ahead of goal pace. There was great, very vocal support along this part of the route, mainly in Spanish. Turning at about 17k, we ran back along the front to where the half marathoners finished and then on westwards, past the port. Still sticking to the coast, still flanked by palm trees, still relatively cool. At about 25k the route turns inland and slightly uphill, then down a ramp, into a deserted stadium, round the track and back out. Very strange!

Between 30k and 35k was probably the most difficult part of the race for me. My pace had been pretty even so far, but on this slightly uphill, warmer part, it started to drift a little. As we turned back towards the city centre a very tall, very tired Dutchman asked if he could have one of my gels. This actually gave me a boost, I figured I definitely looked / felt better than him! I gave him a gel, grabbed an energy drink at the next station and managed to pick up my pace, running slightly downhill on shaded city streets. We finished with a 3k tour around the winding streets of the old town and down the famous main street, Calle Larios, spurred on by extremely excited shouts of “Vamos” until the finish. 

I was amazed and delighted to finish ahead of my goal time in 3:43:26, 42 years after my first 42k race (Loch Rannoch in 3:09:30) and feeling ok. 

After a quick chat with some fellow Scots I met during the race, we went straight to a bar for a very welcome, frosty beer. 

When I began building up the miles for this marathon, I didn’t really believe I would get there, but a very gradual increase and accepting that I can now run in kilometres (80km per week) what I used to run in miles got me there. It was a fabulous experience and a great location to both run and visit.

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