Zurich Barcelona Marathon: Hitting the wall, big time!

Running, I was passing by Sagrada Familia and it looked even mightier than usual. I was feeling good, not at 100% but able to keep the pace. At the 30km everything started getting worse: my legs were getting heavier, even the weather was cloudier and hot. My body was telling me to stop but my mind was fighting hard to keep running. 33th km I stopped and the dream was over…


4months ago in  Malta, I decided with my friend Antonio “Tolo” to run once again together. The project was to run under 3h and spend great holidays in Barcelona.

During these 4 months of training for the marathon, I was suffering injuries in my calves right and left so for sure I was doing something wrong that I need to amend. The worst part came in February, a month before the marathon. I couldnt run for almost the whole month, due to the tendons of my right foot damaged. So I was thinking not to run Barcelona, but I had flights and hotel booked months in advance.

During the month before the marathon I barely ran 80km in total but had good quality session of 21km of marathon pace where I finished very exhausted and that maybe was one of the signs that I was not ready to go for under 3hours, but something in my mind was telling me that it was possible.

Two days before we flew to Barcelona. Once there I was going to meet all my familly so it was perfect spending some time with them and running the marathon. Saturday we collected the number, at the “Feria”, which was well organized  full of stands of all sports brands. But it was more the time spent to relax and safe energy for the race.


We came straight back to the apartmanet and had lunch. Tolo and myself  did a proper carbo loading. After lunch siesta and rest for the rest of the evening.


Sunday 8:15 I was running towards Plaza de España and I was ready for the war waiting at the starting line. The amosphere was amazing, sunny day and no wind at all. At 8:30 booom! we started. I was with yellow bib – under 3hours, everyone  started very fast. Passing through the starting line it was “confetti” in the air and Queen sounding in the speakers, commemorating the 25 years of Olympic Games in the city, the staging was amazing maybe the best and very close to Berlin Marathon.

So the plan for the race was to keep the pace at 4:10 per km but the firs 10k to not push too much because it´s considered the hardest part of the marathon.  So I managed to run the first 10km in 43 mins. barca

The athmosphere in the streets was amazing and the whole city was supporting us.  I didn´t see any empty spot during the whole route, I was running in emptier areas in Malta… Some big avenues were quite hard where you don´t see the end so mentally it makes tougher. Running the Sevilla marathon last year we didnt run in such long avenues, which I prefer.


Running Av. Meridiana was one of the worst parts of the marathon. It´s a big avenue and also very wide, and we did it twice: first going up pushing hard even my pace was slowing down and then going down passing through the half I started realizing that it was going to be difficult to make it in the planned time.  So this part was becoming dark and negative.

I started getting impatient and not feeling 100%, so there were two options to slow down or to take the risk. Maybe a couple of years ago I wouldn´t risk at all, but nowadays I prefer to give a try and see how far I can go.

Running the 24km I passed by my brother´s house, I was looking for him and of course he was there cheering for me. After the marathon he told  me that I looked very good when I was passing by, but my mind was telling me to stop in his house for a break.

I was starting to run off petrol when I reached the 30km, and the worst news is that we were facing another big avenue  – Av. Diagonal nooooo!. My pace was not the same anymore and my legs were starting to get full of lactic acid and I was blaming the marathon organizers for this f**** avenues.


So my marathon basically started here , at the 33km. I woke up from my sweet dream in the worst way.  I started walking at Passeig del Taulat. I was dizzy and my ears were blocked. First thought passing through my head was to quit, so you start thinking where were you 10 years ago and where you are now. Thinking of all the shitty days of training under the rain and all the time I invested to be here; of my family and friends that are supporting me everyday to stay motivated and reach the finish line.

Another race of 10km was starting with my legs completely fucked and making brotherhood with everyone that was in the same situation,  and we were a lot of them… walking dead runners.. While running 800 mts I was supporting the walkers to start running again and I was being supported in return by them when I was walking .. “This is real marathon!!”


I managed to barely run until the Aveninda del Pararel, the last 2km of the marathon drinking and having some fruits from the water stations. In my mind was Mantero telling me days ago: “keep someting for the last 2km 🙂 haha!”.  So this Avenue is 2km uphill, I decided to walk half of it becuase my legs were done. 500 mts reaching the end, my nephew Pau of 7 years was holding my hand and together we crossed the finish-line.I was exhausted but he gave me a present – my race number he did in the morning: 441 handmade. Thanks to him I disconnected of the hardest 10km since I started running.

Barcelona marathon was increidible, maybe I didn´t enjoy 100% but the organization and all the volunteers  – well done. All the people supporting you in every km, it´s just amazing.

My friend  Tolo and  his uncle Agustin did great marathon both of them, excellent team-work! Well done!!


After taking my medal and leaving the crowded areas I saw my family and my girlfriend which I think she is the one most aware of what happened that day. Thanks for being there one more time!!! Robert Grech my osteopathist for keeping my legs fresh for all the races. Also my running brothers Carlos Mantero and Adrian Cauchi. Thanks guys!!

Sometimes you need to read the signs that your body is sending you in the trainings or through the injuries and know exactly which your real target is.

Marathon could be painfull, exhausting, crazy, chaotic, long, wild but once you run one you´ll go for another no matter how bad or how much sufferring was involved. I remember when I was going to run my first marathon a friend of mine told me, once you cross the finish line your life will change forever, I´ve to say he was very right :).

Check my marathon in  strava.com



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