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Where to train for a marathon in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a big city, with a population of 1.6 million inhabitants (its metropolitan area has 4.5 million), living in a small urban area. Consequently, all the traffic and all the local citizens can be annoying for a runner. CNA presents possible routes and some tips for running across the Catalan capital.

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20 April 2012 10:08 PM

by

Maik Wehlte

Barcelona (CNA).- Running, is a sport which is becoming more and more popular all over the world. For over a decade the number of runners steadily increases. A huge array of professional journals deal with how to train for a Marathon and include a thousand training plans, appropriate clothes for your training depending on the weather conditions and magazines which deal with the food you have to eat to maximize your training success. All these things are important as a runner, the most important thing you have to do is: run! Barcelona is a big city with a population of 1.6 million inhabitants (its metropolitan area has 4.5 million), living in a small urban area. Consequently, all the traffic and all the local citizens can be annoying for a runner. You always have to wait, you have to be careful, and you cannot run as fast as you want, but simultaneously you want to visit all the different sights which Barcelona has to offer.


Basic rules of running in a city

A few basic rules exist which can be applied to big cities such as Barcelona:

  • Always use streets with a green traffic light. Barcelona is built on draught board patterns and is consequently easy to find the way back home
  • Avoid the city center, which means in Barcelona districts streets such as la Rambla
  • Combine your route with parks, it is less exhausting for your joints and has a better atmosphere
  • In peripheral districts is less traffic and less citizens which is good for long distance runs

A lot of runners choose general routes in the district of \u2018Sants-Montjuic\u2019, because there is less traffic and only a few tourists. Furthermore, you have an overview of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea from Montjuic hill. In addition, there are a lot of parks, which you can combine, for example the garden of \u2018Joan Maragall\u2019, which is above the Catalonia\u2019s National Museum of Art (MNAC), the garden of \u2018Laribal\u2019 and the park known as \u2018Mirador del Migdia\u2019.

Another big location where you can run in Barcelona is the beach with its little docks. It depends on the starting point, but you have approximately six kilometers where you can run alongside the sea.

Sight running in Barcelona

The most famous route among runners in Barcelona starts at the \u2018Plaça d\u2019Espanya\u2019 where you can see the Catalonia\u2019s National Museum of Art, which has the most important collection of Romanesque Art in the world. Starting at \u2018Plaça d\u2019Espanya\u2019 you run through the \u2018Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes\u2019, which is one of the major avenues in Barcelona, to the \u2018Plaça de Tetuan\u2019, where a big memorial to Bartomeu Robert is located. After the Tetuan Square, you have to run through the street \u2018Passeig de Sant Joan\u2019 from where you can see the Arc of Triumph. The monument was built for Barcelona\u2019s first international exposition in 1888 and is one of Barcelona\u2019s most impressive sights. After passing the Triumphal Arch, you run straight to Barcelona\u2019s city park \u2018Parc de la Ciutadella\u2019. In this park we can find the Parliament of Catalonia and the city zoo. After the city park, you have to run alongside the outskirts of the city park to a further main avenue, called the \u2018Carrer de la Marina\u2019. You can run alongside the beach and the little docks up to \u2018Plaça de la Carbonera\u2019. This square is at the bottom of the avenue of the Parallel. On this street we can find many theatres and cabarets. After passing this street, you are back at your starting point of \u2018Plaça d\u2019Espanya\u2019. This route comprises in total 12.5km.

A further sight running route is called the \u2018Gaudí Tour\u2019. On this route you will pass some of the most famous buildings of Antoni Gaudí, who was a Catalan architect and figurehead of Modernism (Art Nouveau). You have to run this route either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, because of the huge amount of tourists visiting these sights every day. The route has a total distance of approximately 15km and includes six different buildings built by Antoni Gaudí. What is special about this route is the alternation between upward and downward movements and you will get an alternation of a rapid and slow pulse rate. The starting point of this route is the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, or the Sagrada Familia. The church is still under construction, but is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the Sagrada Familia, you have to run to the boulevard \u2018Passeig de Gràcia\u2019 through the streets of \u2018Carrer de Mallorca\u2019 and \u2018Avinguda Diagonal\u2019, which is Barcelona\u2019s broadest and most important avenue. At \u2018Passeig de Gràcia\u2019 we can find the house \u2018Casa Milá\u2019 better known as \u2018La Pedrera\u2019, which means \u2018The Quarry\u2019 and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Subsequent to this house, you have to run along the \u2018Avinguda Diagonal\u2019 to the \u2018Avinguda de Sarrià\u2019 and afterwards you must pass the square called \u2018Plaça de Prat de la Riba\u2019. Then you take a street called \u2018Passeig de Manuel Girona\u2019, where Gaudí\u2019s entrance gate called \u2018Porta Miralles\u2019 is located. You will see it on your right hand side. The fourth sight on this route is the Finca Güell. Gaudí organised and designed the park in 1883 and it shows a large Indian style residence. The next sight is the Bellesguard tower which means beautiful view in Catalan. The official name is \u2018Casa Figueras\u2019. You have to run through several streets to reach this sight. At first you have to follow the street \u2018Carrer del Bisbe Català\u2019, then the street \u2018Carrer de les Escoles Pies\u2019 and then the street called \u2018Carrer de la Immaculada\u2019. Take a look on the map and then, it is easy to find. If you visit this sight you will simultaneously see one of Barcelona\u2019s universities. The last sight on this route is Parc Güell, which is also a world heritage site by UNESCO. Thus, you have to run straight down the street known as \u2018Ronda del General Mitre\u2019. By following this street, you will cross the square \u2018Plaça de Lesseps\u2019 which comes out in to the street \u2018Travessera de Dalt\u2019. You have to turn off this road at the street \u2018Carrer de Larrard\u2019 and following this street; you will see the big park. You are now at the front of the fifth sight. After your visit there, you have to run back to the street \u2018Travessera de Dalt\u2019. You have to follow this street which comes out in the street \u2018Carrer de Sardenya\u2019, by following this street you will be back at your starting point at the Sagrada Familia.

Zurich Marató Barcelona

The main running event in Catalonia is the Barcelona marathon. The Barcelona marathon exists since 1978 and got its present name in 2005. The 34th edition of the Barcelona marathon was held on Sunday March 25th with close to 20,000 participants, an all time record.

Calendar of next running events in Barcelona

22.04.2012 \u2013 Nike - Fireman's race Barcelona 2012 (Cursa Bombers 10k Run 2012)

19.05.2012 \u2013 La Pujada al Tibidabo (7km is a race up Tibidabo mountain)

10.06.2012 \u2013 Cursa Popular per la Integració La Maquinista Districte Sant Andreu (10km)

14.10.2012 \u2013 Garmin Barcelona Triathlon 2012

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  • The start of Barcelona's Half Marathon, in February (by M. Wehlte)

  • People running at Barcelona's marathon (by G. Sánchez)

  • Runners before the last Barcelona Marathon's kick off (by J. Molina)

  • The start of Barcelona's Half Marathon, in February (by M. Wehlte)
  • People running at Barcelona's marathon (by G. Sánchez)
  • Runners before the last Barcelona Marathon's kick off (by J. Molina)