On an unseasonably cold spring morning last month, I was amongst the sea of people who lined up at the Plaza de Colon – named for the Spanish explorer Cristobal Colon nee Christopher Columbus – ready to run through the street of Madrid.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon and 1/2* was another destination conquered on my quest to run the world. The Madrid Marathon is clearly a well-loved event, attracting some 26,000 runners and throngs of spectators along the route. Although this was the 35th running of the Madrid Marathon, it was only the second year that the event was part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series franchise. In addition to the marathon and 1/2, which was included for the first time this year, there was also a 10k.
Before the start of the race, many runners held up there hands forming the letter “b” during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon. After leaving the Plaza de Colon, the course went through many of Madrid’s main neighborhoods, passing such landmarks as Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the Nuevos Ministerios, Hospital de Maudes and the hip shopping mall, Centro Comerical ABC Serrano, which of course I noticed, and made a note to get back there later in the week.
Madrid is hilly, and though not exactly Jerusalem, the undulations throughout the half marathon portion of the race were definitely noticeable. It wouldn’t be a RnR race without music performing along the course. The entertainment was well placed for the first 10k or so, but after that the bands were few and far between. I had my own music, but since music is the trademark of a RnR event, there should have been a bit more of it.
The race ended in Madrid’s beautiful Buen Retiro Park. Spectators lined the last stretch of the course, cheering runners on to the finish line. Things got a little chaotic after we crossed the finish line due the long lines to collect
our race medals and treat bags and because there was a lot of confusion about how to get out of the race area and back to the main area of the park so that runners could find family and friends or go the RnR post-race concert.
It was during this madness that it occurred to me how vulnerable the race community is. Though security was apparently heightened for the marathon after the events in Boston, I wondered what could honestly be done if one of those thousands of people waiting near the finish line wanted to do something sinister. I realized that the answer was that nothing could be done if someone wanted to cause harm and I came to the conclusion that my response would be to continue to pray and continue to run.
Rock ‘n’ Roll, baby!
Disclosure: The Competitor Group/ Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon & 1/2 Marathon provided me with free race entry. All thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own.