Lisbon Half Marathon

Race Date: Sunday March 17th 2024

Race Report by Joel Driver

Lisbon Half Marathon is marketed as the world’s fastest half marathon and at the start runners go over the famous 25 de Abril suspension bridge over the river Tagus. The race has 30m of elevation gain, with 16,500 runners for the half and 10,000 runners doing the 10K (which starts half an hour later).

The race starts on the other side of the river Tagus, opposite Lisbon city centre, and every runner has to get the train over the bridge to the start. I think I spent more time planning variations on how to get to the start using bus, metro and train, than I did running the race!

Joel surveys the race route as the finishers stream home

It was actually really easy in the end, but very busy with multiple double decker trains jammed full of 26,500 runners being taken over the river. Leaving Pragal train station to do the 1/2 mile walk to the start resulted in congestion and everyone stuck so I’m glad I’d set off early.

I booked this race back in October and was optimistic of doing well, having achieved PBs in other distances this year. I was in the sub two hour starting pen and the excitement and pre-race anticipation meant I was impatient to get going.

I managed the first five miles quicker than my goal pace and felt strong. The excitement of running over the bridge with expansive views of the city probably meant I’d set off too quickly and I was two minutes ahead of my goal time at five miles. I completed 10km in 55 minutes and was still on track.

After coming off the bridge and down the slip road, the course gets a bit boring and consists of two out and back sections up and down the main road along the side of the river. It’s very flat though which helped.

At this point in the race the 19c heat started to hit me and I began to slow down. Every mile was slower than the last and my goal quickly evaporated. I took every opportunity to get water at the stations, ran under the fire engine spraying refreshing cold water on passing runners and used two gels to keep me going but the heat was unbearable for a Yorkshireman who gets hot running in 10c.

At one point I was tempted to walk, but I pushed on to the finish and still achieved my second fastest half marathon time, but no PB and not under my two hour goal so that will have to wait for another (cooler) day.

Joel in the sunshine displaying the finisher’s medal

The male race was won by Dinkalem Ayele from Ethiopia in 1:00:36 and female race was won by Brigid Kosgei in 01:05:51 from Kenya.

Joel was the lone Strider among 13221 (plus 68 elite) finishers at the Lisbon Half.

Striders Results

P Name Cat Cat P Time
7593 Joel Driver M40 814 02:07:17

Full results can be found on the sporthive website.

Runners as far as the eye can see, crossing the suspension bridge

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