For those of you who read my blog because they want to know more about Barcelona and/or Catalonia, a word of warning: this blog is about me and my run, not about the city.
I have never run 10km in my life! Well, apart from that fateful day when we went for a Sunday run in Richmond Park in London with my run club. We were given three different routes for three different distances. We picked the 6km route but we got lost so we ended up doing 11km instead! We kind of walked for a bit but then realised that at that pace we’ll never get to the end so we slowly jogged the rest.
The thought of doing a 10km run first flashed through my mind when on one of the first weekends in Barcelona we went to watch the Nike 10km Fireman’s Race. Since then I have been running here and there, a bit more regularly in the last month. Then 3 weeks ago I checked the running timetable in the city and I found the perfect event. It was very close to our flat and part of the route was next to the sea. I signed up and started running more seriously. I knew it was not a race but just a run, I didn´t have to prove anything to anybody except to myself but sometimes that’s the hardest.
I was hoping there will be other Hungarians running as well. I asked on the ‘Hungarians in Barcelona’ Facebook group but nobody replied. I was the only Hungarian on the race as far as I know.
It all felt kind of like a dream until on Friday I had to go to pick up my chip that measures my time, my T-shirt and other stuff. I queued to get it and the lady who checked my passport only could pronounce my name with great difficulty. When I apologised for the trouble (how very British of me) she said ‘No, no, don’t worry, welcome to Barcelona!’.
The bag was really heavy, all these were in there. Check out the colour of my top!
This morning I woke up early. I felt light, ready and very excited. I put my horrible coloured top on, my chip on my shoe, a ribbon around my wrist with Hungarian colours in case I see another Hungarian, put my name tag on the back of my top then we set off to the run.
When we got there we saw a sea of yellow, people getting ready, warming up, trying to find their place. They all had their names on the front so we changed mine as well.
I just followed everybody, got in the line, asked if I was in the right place for the 10km then waited for the start. They got Antonio Rebollo, the archer who lit the fire in the ’92 Barcelona Olympic Games to start the race by shooting an arrow. As soon as the arrow touched the floor the flood of runners took over the street. On the side drummers beat the rhythm for us.
That’s me just before the arch wearing blue shorts and white shoes.
I started off trying to keep up with everybody but soon found my own rhythm and calmed down. People kept steadily taking me over together with a guy holding up the time for the 50 minutes (those who run 10km under 50 min). Ooops, I was in the wrong group! There were so many people taking me over that at some point I looked back to see if there’s anybody left. After about 3km I took over the first person (I won’t be the last one to get in!), then from then on slowly but steadily took over more and more.
And then I ran. The sun was shining, there was a lovely breeze cooling us down, music was pumping in my ears, heads were bobbing up and down all around me running, breathing together, it was such an amazing feeling! I looked left and I saw the greenery of the Parc de Poblenou, in front of me a sea of people running in yellow, and on my right was the sea, blue, vast and sparkling. I was flying through the streets with the others around me.
After about 4km things had slowed down around me and I started running together with others, like the girl who was wearing an orange top. She was running at exactly the same rhythm as me on the other side of the road but after about 10 min she took off and I didn’t follow. Later I noticed a guy running in front of me wearing a green running top. I ran after him for a while as the colour was such a relief to my eyes but unfortunately not long after he gave up and stopped running. There was a group of dads wearing the same orange top and one of them was pushing a buggy with a baby in it. I wandered how they keep the baby asleep for an hour but then I slowly took them over. At the end of the run I followed a guy whose name was actually Pablo (it’s the Spanish version for Paul) and he had his name on his back!
I managed to finish the run, did not stop at all and kept the same rhythm all throughout. I felt like I could have run all day long. I finished in good shape, was tired but otherwise fine. I was very happy with myself and seeing Paul’s face at the end made it all worthwhile.
Today was an incredible experience. I have so many lovely memories of Barcelona but running today with thousands of others is amongst the best ones.