for the love of free oranges: Barcelona Half Marathon 2024

Race Date Sunday 11th February 2024

It’s a special feeling to get that telephone call asking you to compete for your country and when our Club Captain asked if I would like to come to Barcelona with herself and Val the answer was a definite yes. For info, Valeria Gasperini is a highly valued former member of Steel City who returned to Italy just as Covid was hitting Europe but we keep in contact and she still follows our training schedules. With Caroline and Val as team managers, flights and accommodation (less than 800m from the start) were all sorted and all that was necessary was to drive over the Peak District through heavy snowfall to get us to Manchester Airport. Unwanted stress but all good in the end.

This event, with over 24,000 finishers is perfect preparation for the London Marathon. It starts with a metro trip to the Expo on Saturday morning to collect race  number followed by the temptation to do more sightseeing than prudent; Barcelona is a fine city. Race day itself is bedlam with deafening music and a mass of seemingly colour blind would be’s unable to get themselves into the correct starting pen and even if you were on the Red sub 1:30 wave you still stood the chance of someone stopping dead on the start line to take a selfie! Further jeopardy comes with the four members of the same club running abreast blissfully ignorant of the traffic jam that they have caused. The whole thirteen miles is like a washing machine passing runners and being passed all the way. Another trick is the “false” Brooks finishing arch erected about 600m before the actual finishing line – if possible always warm up on the last part of the course to find out where the line is although for London, Buckingham Palace provides a clue.

Disappointing goody bag as whilst the the tech t-shirt and medal, if you like that sort of thing, were quality, all that seemed to be on offer was a paper bag and some fruit.

That afternoon Val whisked us off to lunch with some of her friends where the food just kept coming as Enrico, who is a chef, treated us to a vegan/vegetarian spread. Thoughts of the meagre goody bag and no crunch bar were forgotten. Afterwards some last minute sightseeing helped sore legs.

Pos Name Cat Time
1476 (16) Caroline Brock F35 01:23:04
8833 Peter Brown M60 01:44:45
2156 (13) Valeria Gasperini (Atletica Chirignago) F40 01:26:19

The elites were there although we never saw them. First male, Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) ran 59:21 and first female Joyciline Jekosgei (KEN) did 1:04:28. Andreas Almgren (SWE) ran a new European record with 59:23 so nothing wrong with the course today which was flat if uninspiring – expect some wind in any city centre event with the tunnel effect caused by tall buildings. The gory details can be found here: Barcelona Half Marathon Results 2024

Official race photographs are over twenty quid so no action pics but here we are sitting outdoors with our tapas and drinking beer later Sunday evening.

The next time that I come to Barcelona it will be as a tourist but if you are gregarious and like having fun as Val does then it might suit for she came home with a personal best which is almost obscene for a woman of her age. Caroline and myself were disappointed with our times, Caroline more so as she was hoping to do well. The runner’s book of excuses observes that with a 8:30am start this was effectively 7:30am for the Brits with a 5:30am alarm call for pre race breakfast – Val was on Venice time. Personally, my biggest mistake was not getting into my pen early enough and not getting close enough to the front – lesson learned perhaps.

This graphic illustrates where the greatest cohort of runners is and where the course is most crowded. If you don’t like it then run faster.

scroll to top