Seville marathon review, 2017 edition
I’ve written about this in detail from a runner’s perspective, as the little things can be important when you’re choosing a marathon, or getting ready to run. I’ve split it into sections so you can skip to the sections you’re interested in.
I first came across the Seville marathon by a leaflet given to me at the San Sebastián marathon expo. The leaflet declared Seville to be the flattest marathon in Europe. I really enjoyed the experience of running a Spanish marathon in San Seb. So Seville had caught my interest.
Expo & Bib Collection
It hardly felt like any time between clicking on ‘enter race’ and arriving at the Seville Marathon Expo. It was in a special expo area, not at the marathon start/ finish. Luckily I’d done a quick check and realised it made sense geographically to go on our way from the airport into town.
There were quite a few kit stalls, and the Spanish seemed to be very into foot strike scanning equipment. Along with our bibs we each got a high vis technical jacket. They seem pretty well made but were only men’s sizes so my ‘small’ was rather large, but still wearable. There were pasta parties available for those who wanted the day before the marathon.
I enjoyed checking out the route and brandishing the winner’s trophy, based on the town’s famous statue outside the cathedral.
Getting to the start
The marathon starts and finishes in a stadium south of the river. The main city centre is north of the river. Transport didn’t seem particularly easy. Many people were walking a few km to the start. There were some shuttle buses from a few hotels, so these could be good places to stay for ease of logistics*. We booked a taxi for peace of mind.
(*In 2017 there were 3 shuttle bus lines from 06:40 to 07:40 AM – from the Hotel Ayre, Hotel Silken Al Andalus Palace and Parlamento de Andalucía)
The stadium had lots of loos (no loo roll while we were there!) it’s a good undercover area for your final change before leaving your kit bag.
Kit bags were transparent & big enough to fit a rucksack. The lower numbers (faster predicted times) were the furthest away from the start. As with any marathon, the later you leave it, the more people there are trying to drop their bag and get back out, so we had a fairly normal mini scrum.
The Seville marathon
The start is about 800m away from the stadium, with the front of the course at the furthest point.
It was quite a squash with some spectators, plus all the runners trying to get in through narrow entrances into the pens. (There was high enough fencing that you couldn’t just climb in at any point). We all had colour coded bibs and wrist bands. I got to my own pen fairly late so in the last minute rush my band wasn’t checked but I could see broadly similar colour bibs in my pen.
It really was flat. There was a minor incline out of an underpass, and a very gentle slope around 10 miles. The more you’re at your limit (as I was), the more you notice these things. But it is definitely a flat course (Seville course map).
There was a green line painted with the shortest route. I found it hard to see the KM markers on the side of the road as I was surrounded by taller men, but I could hear all their watches beep around every km and could also see the km distances painted on the road. There were timing mats every 5km but no spectator tracking service.
As with many city marathons, it wasn’t scenic. Much of the route was up closed dual carriageways and round the outskirts. This did make it functional. There were a few bands on the course which was fun, and the last 5km was through more of the sights. I definitely enjoyed the 35 km mark more on seeing the fountains. I was a little wary of the tram lines in this city centre section. There was a little bit of rougher paving but not disruptive like proper cobbles.
In 2017 it was around 12 degrees at the start, but felt a bit humid. You can see in the photos there was some cloud cover. The day before was hotter, the day after colder!
Food & drink
Water and isotonic drinks were both in cups. They were big enough to hold a decent amount and to be able to to drink out of. The isotonic drinks were in red Coke cups after the water, so you could tell the difference. Lemon or orange flavour, I found them easy to drink. There were a couple of sponge stations and a couple with bananas.
The finish is into the stadium. There’s a dip down into the stadium entrance which cramped up a few runners’ legs. I do like finishing in stadiums as there’s always a great atmosphere, and you can’t help feel inspired to give it everything (whether that’s sprinting or waving) to the finish.
Although I didn’t run the race of a lifetime, this was down to my legs not feeling great, not the course. For those interested, I ran 3.04.17, and was 3rd V40. I’d definitely recommend it as a flat course with PB potential (2017 results). You can go and visit the beautiful parts of Seville after the race. And there is fantastic tapas, wine and beer to enjoy too.