With a growing reputation as one of the fastest Marathons in the world, it’s a wonder that only one member of Grantham Running Club escaped the bitter frost and snow to run the 2023 Valencia Marathon on Sunday 3rd December.
Samuel Jepson thankfully didn’t make the trip alone with chief logistical support Andrew Pask alongside for the ride! These arrangements a direct swap of the same event last year with unerring parallels playing out 364 days apart.
Long flight delays and train delays coloured travels as they tried to escape the plummeting temperatures in the UK.
A debilitating chest infection for Sam just ten days prior to the race meant he “tried” to
adopt a mindset of ‘enjoying the experience’ which largely played out for the first 15 miles.
Greeted by perfect conditions of blue skies, a 10°C starting temperature and little to no wind just after the Spanish sunrise he was present, smiling, acknowledging the crowd and noticing landmarks along the pancake flat course.
Clocking the halfway point at exactly 1:32 supported the notion that it went well initially.
Cliché it may be the second half is still a long time for things to develop…
From 16 miles on and each mile thereafter, it became harder and harder to ‘enjoy’ it.
Fighting previously mentioned chest issues, a cramping calf, nausea and the mental demons that come with the above it meant a drop in pace and switch to ‘survival mode’.
The highlights came in the guise of running through the stunning landmarks and architecture of the Old Town and the raucous crowd thronging the streets in the final 3km.
Did Sam stop running? No, not once.
Is he proud for gutsing it out? Yeah
Can he do better? You better believe it!
Approaching the famous blue matted finish over the water of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias he clocked 03:11:58.
Philosophical but of course disappointed, Sam’s relationships with marathoning is only beginning. Promising to be back at some point.
The race was won by Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia in 02:01:48 – a course record.
The ladies race won by Worknesh Degafa also of Ethiopia in 02:15:51.
Report: Sam Jepson
Photo c/o: Andrew Pask