Last week, I ran the eDreams Barcelona Half Marathon (or mitja marató as they would say in Spanish). It’s funny to actually be writing a race recap only a week later–these often come at least a month later, and I’ve even been guilty of six-month old race recaps (oops!).
The expo was held at the top floor of the Arenas shopping center, right by the Pl. Espanya metro stop. I unfortunately forgot to take more photos of the expo itself, other than the board with the course map (oops!). The mall itself had a great 360° view, so I definitely recommend taking a stroll around after you pick up your bib.
Everything was quick and well-organized at the expo despite the 19,000 entrants. I waited only a couple minutes to grab my bib (safety pins were in the envelope, but always check just in case!). There was a separate line to get t-shirts and a drawstring bag, which was also quick. If you ordered a discounted Hola Barcelona travel card, there was also a fast line.
One thing that wasn’t clear to me was the yellow timing chips that are mentioned on the race website. There are two separate entry fees for those with chips and those without. Those without have to pay about 3 euros more to “rent” a chip, but I never received one–there was simply the timing chip on the bib. I panicked a little when I saw hordes of people with yellow chips on their shoes on race day. It didn’t matter in the end though–I think the chips are just a common Spanish thing that allow runners to avoid one-time use chips and save a few bucks on races, if you do them frequently.
Another issue I had was getting a confirmation email–I think my Gmail blocked it as spam, so I never received one and had to hunt race organizers down to get a second one sent. The organizers are not very responsive, regardless of whether you use Facebook or email (calling is not super helpful since most don’t speak much English). It took me 2 weeks to get in touch with them and finally get the necessary email. If you have a non-Gmail email address, I would maybe try that instead (it finally went through to my Outlook account).
So while registration was stressful and disorganized, the expo went quite smoothly. Bag dropoff was also easy (see below).
There was no gu provided, nor any solid foods. At the finish, there were delicious mandarin oranges and bananas, as well as more powerade.
Tips + Summary:
- Check your spam for the confirmation email, and consider using a non-Gmail email address since I never got mine, even to my spam.
- Race organizers can be difficult to reach. Plan to wait at least a couple weeks to get any issue resolved.
- Don’t worry if you see a bunch of people with yellow chips on race day. If you paid extra for bib with a chip, you don’t need a yellow chip on your shoe.
- The course is flat, weather is typically mild, and every kilometer is well-marked. The last 400m has 5+ blowup arches though, so don’t be thrown off by those and expect each one to be the finish line.
- Don’t expect photos of yourself, as their identification system is poor 🙁 I was really looking forward to my ugly race photos!