RRW: Spectacular Course Awaits World Half-Marathon Athletes

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

VALENCIA (22-Mar) — The 21.1 kilometer course for Saturday’s IAAF/Trinidad Alonso World Half-Marathon Championships is not only flat and fast, but is arguably one of the most beautiful road race courses in the world.

Starting and finishing at the iconic Ciudad De Les Artes y la Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences) designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, about one-third of the course hugs the sunken Jardin del Turia, the 110-hectare park in the heart of this city which was formerly a riverbed.  The athletes will pass fountains, historic buildings, palm trees and flowering trees which already fully-bloomed just two days into spring.  The pavement is very smooth; snow and road salt never touch the streets here.

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The finish is nothing short of spectacular.  When the athletes re-enter the City of Arts & Sciences, they will run along one of the reflecting pools, make a hard right just before the Science Museum, up a specially constructed ramp, then a hard left for the final run to the finish line on an elevated promenade with pools of water on both sides.  The finish straight is covered with a light blue carpet which, at the moment, us under a layer of protective plastic film.

Moreover, the same course will be enjoyed by about 15,000 runners in the mass race which follows immediately these championships.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to see the best athletes in the world at this distance in action on a circuit that is perfect for achieving fast times,” said organizing committee president Raúl Chapado through a statement.  “The organization has designed a
route of great beauty and charm that will be lined by fans cheering all the runners on, as Valencia and its inhabitants have a true passion for running.”

Interestingly, the IAAF/Trinidad Alonso World Half-Marathon Championships will not have an early morning start like so many other road races, but will rather begin late in the afternoon.  The championships women’s race will start at 5:05 p.m. (17:05), the championships men will begin at 5:30 p.m. (17:30), and the mass race will start at 5:40 p.m. (17:40).