I am a big fan of the Florence marathon. Awesome views, friendly people and very well organised! I never ran in a marathon through small allies like here or was passing so many jaw-droppingly nice buildings. The conditions very absolutely perfect, only potential difficulty is a bit of uneven cobble stone and stone tiles in the town centre, but they did not bother me. I thought I give it a go and tried for under 3:30. And with these perfect conditions it is only me to blame that I did not do it. I am seriously wondering how other runners set themselves targets and managed to do it. I didn’t even injured myself or had cramps or anything, just couldn’t do it. It was hard, but it still feels there is something left that I don’t access. Well, at least I managed to do a new personal best. They just emailed me the official time: 3:33:12 – yeah! And my legs really hurt this time, but just normal muscle soreness, knees and joints are fine – again, no excuses for not archiving the under 3:30. I am probably just not tough enough to access this little bit of extra that brings you to archiving your target. I probably will always be a fun runner 😉
I can’t help but take bad weather a bit personal. So when the forecast said rain for exactly the two days of my Florence visit, I was sulking a little bit. Well, the forecast got it wrong. Today the sun is out and I am happy. I guess it is only fair to take the good weather also personal and say a big THANK YOU! The marathon starts in 30 minutes. Florence is great and I am very excited!
The race is over. I am sitting in my hotel foyer and typing these lines. The obligatory start line picture was cancelled this time, due to astronomically high data roaming costs. But I did take a picture an here it comes:
The bridge in background leads from Asia to Europe and the Istanbul marathon can claim to be the only one that goes over two continents (well, same way as Istanbul is apparently the only city on two continents). But the marathon bit on Asian ground is a bit of a joke. It’s only the bit from the start line to the bridge that you can see on the picture. But apart from this sneaky marketing trick is the marathon great. And the weather was ideal against the forecast and odds. Sunny, but not hot. The mosques, the Old City and the bit along the seafront felt magical. And my time was not to bad either, I think I did a PB, something around 3:37. Official time to be confirmed. And this dispute a rather uncomfortable loo incident. Number two. And Turkey does not have a very high developed Dixie toilet culture, means there was none in sight. My only option: storming into a random restaurant along the route and beg for mercy. Which was kindly granted, but this whole hole on the ground business is not something I am used too, so it took longer than I hoped for. In the end it must have cost me 4 minutes or so. Not easy to catch up with that. But then I meet this miracle girl from Holland, who become my kind of pacer until kilometre 38. She was very nonchalant about her running, saying it is her first marathon and she does not have a target time and just want to see how it goes. It seemed to have gone very well for her. At kilometre 38 when I had to drop behind, she still looked so fresh as if she had just popped out to get a pint of milk. Crazy. But she helped me to do a new personal best which I am very thankful for. Overall: Istanbul is definitely one of the more exciting and scenic marathons, with a great atmosphere and friendly organisers. The organisation itself is not the best I have ever seen, but still the event is highly recommend!