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Jo pushes through the pain barrier in Seville

23/02/2014

Sunday February 23rd, the day of the Seville marathon, did not start well for Dumfries Running Club's Jo Zakrzewski. The hotel lifts were broken so she and several other runners were ushered down a back staircase and onto a waiting bus. Unfortunately, the bus did not quite go to the start of the race as planned, so Jo only made it with 20 minutes in which to change, warm up and get her mind set for the race. However having made the start, things were then to go from bad to worse as Jo explains...

"Within metres of the start I was knocked down by the crush. Unfortunately, every time I tried to get get up I was trampled further.....which was a very scary sensation! After what seemed like ages, the flow of runners slowed and a kindly Spaniard helped me to my feet. Fleeting thoughts of a DNF were banished and I set off down the course. Using my gloves to try to stem the flow of blood from my nose, I weaved through the participants, passing the 4 hour, 3:30 and 3 hour pacemakers. Another friendly runner helped me out with some tissues for my face and I tried to ignore the scrapes to my knees and elbows.

Having made it back to some of the elite ladies, I tried to calm my breathing, ignore the pain and get on with the race. I remembered that the route passed the hotel near the halfway point which would give the option of stopping there. The bleeding had mainly stopped by about the 10k mark by which point I had settled into a rhythm. As it turned out I actually missed the hotel anyway and so carried on with the race.

The Seville marathon is a very flat course, which takes in some of the sights of the city. The tougher cobbled section nearer the end is compensated for by the support given by the locals, but the last 3 miles did seem very long, hot and lonely."

The fact that Jo finished in a creditable 4th place in a time of 2:41:27 demonstrates her fitness and determination, though she was then packed off to the hospital in an ambulance for treatment to her broken nose and cracked rib!

The sunny day seemed perfect for some fast running with temperatures starting at 8 degrees and reaching 22 by mid afternoon. This was shown admirably by the winner, Cosmas Lagat from Kenya, setting a new course record of 2:08:32. Lagat was initially the 64 minute halfway pacemaker, but felt strong and so continued on to finish the race 4 minutes clear of the next man. The ladies winner, Pamela Rotich of Kenya, was running her debut marathon, and did not pace it quite so well, with a 75 minute first half, followed by an 80 minute second half, but this did mean that she and the Spanish 2012 Olympian Elena Espeso did have a sprint finish for positions (2:35:41 and 2:35:42 respectively)!

Photo courtesy of Maratón de Sevilla/JJ. Ubeda.

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