This magnificent city on the Mediterranean coast has a history that goes back to the Roman Empire and was home to the world-famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi is the originator of numerous spectacular buildings in his native city, and the marathon course lets runners see several of these on their way through the Catalonian streets. Some of the landmarks on the course are Camp Nou (home base of the soccer team, FC Barcelona), Gaudi’s magnificent La Pedrera, his masterpiece Sagrada Familia and the UNESCO-sight, Hospital de Sant Pau.
The marathon starts and finishes below the green hills of Montjuïc Park in front of the Magic Fountain, and some of the 42km runs along the harbour, which may provide a welcome breeze in the sometimes rather hot Spanish spring weather. The course is advertised to be flat, but it does contain some inclines, which is not that steep, but in return pretty long. The hilly parts are mostly situated in the beginning of the route, but the scenery, which is practically packed with excellent sights, makes up for the relative toughness of this part of the course.
Not surprisingly, many foreigners take the opportunity to visit Barcelona in the springtime and at the same time get an extensive tour through the city at marathon speed. Usually, almost half of the 8,000 marathoners are visitors from abroad. The field of runners is relatively small, which prevents overcrowding in the streets and at water stations. But the number of entrants is increasing rapidly each year, so hurry up, if you want to be part of this event while it is still rather exclusive.
To register for Barcelona Marathon, please go to the official website here.