After a rainy first day, I wasn’t expecting all that heat on the marathon day.
It was quite sunny the day before when I waited for 30-40 minutes in line to pick up the race kit, but some clouds were there as well.
For the organizing team, that right there was a small mistake. It would’ve been much better if there was a stand somewhere in the expo area where people could fill in that paper form and the race kits to be ready before the runners are showing up. It goes much faster and it’s easier for the volunteers as well.
When I woke up, 3 hours before the race, at 6 AM, it was cloudy. I thought that the windbreaker will be useful after all. Two hours later, when I was about to leave the hostel, the clouds were gone. I am glad that one of the volunteers in the expo area offered some UV protection cream. But even with that, I now have a beautiful tan. On my arms and face. The “trucker” tan, as they/we call it.
The route was quite familiar. 60% of it was on Stefan The Great and Saint Blvd. which I’ve walked up and down several times since the arrival in Chisinau. The rest was on Dacia Blvd., going uphill, crossing a bridge or two. 4 laps of 10.5 km.
It was a nice route, but when you have to go through the same place for 8 times, with practically no shade, it can get annoying. At least you know precisely where and when you’ll reach a water point. The volunteers did an awesome job.
The whole event was a holiday in Chisinau. It was funny somehow. Here it was a big Red Bull truck, with loud music and shortly after you listened to some church music. Those who run with headphones, they don’t know what they missed. :))
I was lucky again. New friends, and fellow runners from Romania. We had a bunch of laughs when the organizers delayed the start with more than 10 minutes while everybody was already lined up. Also, at every loop, we cheered for each other.
Right from the beginning, I asked Dragos about the time he wanted for the 42k, and I suggested him to run together. We both wanted somewhere between 3 h 30 min-4 h, but his reasoning not to do that was better. Pacing somebody is not a piece of cake, and you may end up push your limits too early. He did a better job at slaloming the crowd of runners in the first lap, and I was too concerned about my legs, so he was ahead with several hundreds of meters. I was determined to take it slow, listen to my legs, and ignore them throughout each of the 42k.
At every loop, the distance between us was almost constant. For the first time in a marathon, I had no walking breaks. Even at the water points. I took the bottles while running. I knew that if I’d stopped, even for a couple of meters, it would hurt more to start running again. And I survived.
I had no idea about the time, but I was happy with my pace, no matter how fast/slow it was. From time to time, I asked some runners what’s the time, but doing the math right there, was out of the question. It didn’t matter anyway. I was there to enjoy the running. And it was fun. At the last loop, I managed to gather some of the energy I had left, I recovered the distance between me and Dragos, and we both sprinted our way towards the finish line. If only I had a T-shirt with Romania as his.
Our timing was somewhere around +3h 41min. I guess we both reached our target, and considering the uphills and the heat, I think we did quite a good job. For Eugen, this was his first marathon. A big congrats goes to him. He was the hero of the day.
I am looking forward to seeing the pictures and the timings. I’m curious to see the time per lap, and how bad my face can get through pain, sweat, heat, and an awful hair day. There were so many photographers on the course. I’m sure I’ll have some laughs soon enough :))
To be continued…
Update: In the meantime I found a youtube video with the start of the marathon. Check it out: