Just over a week after returning from Seville we were back at Gatwick for our flight to Marco Polo, Venice.
I had, of course, booked an apartment in Treviso, where else for the Treviso Marathon? It was the 13th running of the event and in previous years it had started in, or north of, Conegliano (itself 25k north of Treviso) and finished in Treviso. They changed the course this year. It started and finished in Conegliano (the expo was also there) and didn’t come within 30k of Treviso! Thankfully the name stays the same so fits in with my ‘rules’ the alphabetic being the name of the marathon, ignoring sponsors names.
There was no special transportation for the race, but there was a good quick and cheap train service which made it easy to get there for the 9.45 start. The forecast suggested almost ideal marathon conditions, cool with not too much sun or wind. Various items were used for protection before the start, the bin liner that had travelled to five continents with me was finally used and I saw a first, forensic suits.
Even though I started in just my normal top and shorts, many were wearing base layers, jackets, buffs and gloves.
I had a moment of panic as I walked up towards the start. Even with my non-existent Italian I could understand a countdown, but the relay started at the same time as the main marathon and the half at 10.10, could I really have the start time wrong? Of course not, it was the wheelchair and bicycle race starts.
The marathon web site, T shirt and bib state ‘corri nelle terre del prosecco’ which translates as ‘run in the lands of Prosecco wine’ and we certainly did that. In the first 10k we twisted our way through vineyards, more than once I was offered a glass by locals supporting outside their houses and the goodie bag did contain a 375 ml bottle of the sparkly stuff.
I ran most of the way with the 4 hour pacers, it clearly wasn’t fast enough for one of them to sweat out his pre-race liquid as a number of times during the race he quickly ran off in front of the group then veered off the road to relieve himself!
I was confused during the first 8k when on occasions we passed ‘walkers’ that were part of the race and they seemed to be in similar or even identical kit. After the 4th time I was convinced it was the same person each time, but did not know how he had got back in front of us; clearly I had not been observant enough because I did then see him come running past us a little later and he continued with his successful walk/run strategy for at least the first half of the race as we continual swapped places but after that we seemed to stay in front.
We were given a sponge in the goodie bag, and in some races these are very welcomed, but I was correct in thinking that I did not need to take it with me. Quite a lot of runners did have theirs, I saw them being used at all seven of the water baths provided. The ‘refreshment’ stations were every 5k, with water plus energy drinks in the second half; at two of the later stations cups were handed out that contained neither, strangely it was something warm. I have no idea what it was, a had a mouthful but spat if out at the first and just handed it back at the second. Maybe it was the peach tea that we were given in the goodie bag. I wonder if any using the spongers to cool down then used the drinks to warm up.
It was another easy course; Strava shows it having an elevation of just 86m, making it flatter than Seville. The only noticeable rise came after we ran through a tunnel under a road just after 38k, and the descent came in the final 0.5k running over cobbles in Conegiano. As we ran after the 30k mark the paradox of the area became clear, because when the view to the north was unimpeded the snow covered Dolomites rose out of the plain not a marathon distance from us. I did find the whole run as comfortable as Seville two weeks previous, and ended up more than 2 minutes quicker with 4:03:57 and 3rd in my age category.
The athletes village afterwards had free beer, which didn’t run out and it seems you could keep going back for more. There was also a warm soup provided, and the servers understood the 2 Italian words I had specially learned “Senza gluten” and immediately went to a different casserole to produce something suitable for me.
So just another 2 week recovery before my U marathon, there aren’t too many beginning with letter 21 of the alphabet. Actually I am lucky I was injured before I was due to run my very first marathon as the change to Athens has left this country free.