News Rick Ryder's PB at the Barcelona Marathon, 15th March 2015 Rick Ryder's PB at the Barcelona Marathon, 15th March 2015

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Report by Ian Lockyer
2015-03-17 12:25:08

Rick Ryder's PB at the Barcelona Marathon, 15th March 2015

At the weekend, club member, Rick Ryder earnt himself a new personal best at the Barcelona Marathon.  Rick ran the 26 mile distance in just 4.24.08 in only his ninth marathon.  

Rick begins his story with his continued disappointment of not getting in through the ballot system at the London Marathon.  Rick said, ‘I have often publicised on the Thanet Road Runners website forum on my disappointments of failed VLM ballot places.  So I have turned these negative rejections into positives and have decided to run other European City Marathons instead.  So about six months ago I decided Barcelona was a City I wanted to add to my Athens, London, Rome Marathon Tourist list.’ 

‘The cost of the expedition was not prohibitive with an entry fee of 60 Euros, British Airways approx £100 return and the Apollo Hostel for only £16 a night.’

‘The Marathon expo, start and finish is at the huge roundabout called the "Placa De Espanya", which happens to be the first drop off point for the every 12 minutes Aero Bus service, airport to Barcelona a 15 min trip for 7 euro.’

‘I flew out from Gatwick at 0730 Saturday morning, it is a short 90 minute flight and by lunchtime I was in the huge Expo collecting my chip and bib, a very slick operation, I resisted some very shiny running gear that was guaranteed to shave hours off my finish time! Instead I went outside into the sunshine and milled about with the hundreds of multinational runners soaking up the atmosphere with Freddie Mercury singing Queens Barcelona very loudly from the PA system.  There was lots of people in a real Marathon party atmosphere, something we do not manage to replicate at VLM registration!  I then wandered down the paral lel (parallel lines?) leading off "Placa De Espanya" which is also the finish straight and it is a long slight incline up the hill to finish!’
 
‘I found my Hostel behind the Apollo Theatre in the district of Theatres, Tapas bars, Restaurants etc, so well placed, but the entrance was inconspicuous with a buzzer entrance system, a short walk up some dingy well worn marble staircase to the Hostel entrance.  Once inside it was like the Tardis, very spacious and spotlessly clean with a new fresh youthful décor, furnishings and young friendly staff who could not be more helpful and despite only booking for one night were quite happy for me to return and shower and change after the Marathon finish.  The superb English speaking staff gave me the Magnetic card that allowed all access to required entrance and room doors and operated the room lights, a free use of room TV, Fridge, and Combination Safe (all this for £16) I also picked up an information leaflet on the open top "Tourist Bus" which I found from Rome last year is certainly the best way to view and listen to Guided City Tours.’
 
‘I didn’t bother with the free pasta party at the Expo and decided instead to visit Leonies Tapas bar opposite the Apollo theatre.  A slice of Tortilla , a drink, Spaghetti and tomato bread for a very reasonable 17 Euros. With the big day ahead I was tucked up in my bed for 10.’

‘Marathon Day brought bright sunshine and a gentle cool breeze. I walked the 2 kilometres up parallel lines towards "Placa De Espanya" consuming two energy bars, washing them down with blue sports drink.  As I walked up the hill, the numbers increased, until I joined the throng of thousands at "Placa De Espanya".  The atmosphere was now intense and we were funnelled into our starting pens, the PA system was whipping the crowd up with the usual themes and we set off  to Freddie's Barcelona again to high volume accompanied by cannon fired ticker tape confetti fired high over the runners!’

‘Awesome motivation and atmosphere, carried the crowd of runners through the early kilometres and we went past impressive landmarks such as Barcelona football ground and even more impressive buildings by Gaudi and the truly magnificent cathedral familia sagrada which just blows you away on first sight.’ 

The kilometres passed and we were aided by the well staffed water, sport drinks and gel stations.  Having studied the topography beforehand, there was just some gentle inclines, nothing to break even my low pain threshold into walking and finally there it was, the 2 kilometre gentle climb up parallel lines to the magnificent marble and sandstone fountain in the middle of the Plaza Espanya...the end was in sight. I found it very much like running along the sea wall to Reculver, it never seems to get any closer!’

‘A look at my watch told me a PB was on the cards, so ignoring the growing amount of people now electing to walk the final climb, I dug deep and passed the huge twin columned venetian towers to the finish line.  My reward was huge chunks of Spanish oranges and a great looking medal!’ 

‘Half an hour later, I was outside the tapas bar, sipping a large cool San Miguel beer shouting encouragement to the weary as they finished the last 500 metres…is there ever a better feeling?’ 

 

 

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