Every runner knows it – that moment when giving up seems preferable to carrying on. When the Catcher Car closes in on you in Valencia this May, you may want to consider your surroundings before letting it overtake.
This Spanish city of ancient majesty and technological wonder has been built and destroyed and rebuilt through the sheer determination to keep pushing on. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the City of Arts and Science, a complex of museums so architecturally advanced it was used for the exteriors of last year’s movie Tomorrowland.
At the centre sits L’Hemisfèric, a cinema and planetarium that opens its giant translucent eyelid to stare across the surrounding waters to the race’s start point.
Nearby are the Turia Gardens, where you can train over 5km of picturesque running track for the race.
Before 1957 it was part of the mighty river Turia, until it broke its banks bringing death and destruction to the city. Turning tragedy into tranquillity, the city council transformed the riverbed into a park, complete with a 70m reclining Gulliver.
Today, Valencia is the biggest port on the Mediterranean western coast. A Herculean recovery that many retired competitors can contemplate as they recuperate with local seafood specialty Fideuà – its noodles yellow from saffron or black from cuttlefish ink.
When this race in 34 global cities is finished, those still pushing on into the night in Valencia may want to head to Café del Duende in the old town. The energetic Flamenco show there could get even the most exhausted runner back on his feet.
“The perfect conditions for setting records: There are almost no climbs, the temperature is ideal and the locals love running”