Breakfast runs are events that take place on the Saturday morning before a Sunday Marathon. They are very common in Spain and can also be found at most of the major international marathons. Courses are generally around 5k in distance and most are informal and non-competitive. A useful shake-out after a journey and a good place to meet up with other runners, breakfast runs also help to alleviate pre-race nerves. Here are some of our favourites.
The Berlin Marathon breakfast run starts at the Charlottenburg Palace and goes approximately 6k to end in the Olympic stadium. This is the place which Hitler built to showcase the power of Nazi Germany and all it stood for, only to have Jesse Owens come along and win four gold medals there. The run is worth doing if only because it takes in a real bit of athletics history. The event itself is huge and very international. The breakfast is good.
The Valencia breakfast run takes place in the lovely Turia Gardens. It costs 5Eur and is a relatively small but international affair – with many groups running in club/country colours. The distance is 5k and announcements at the start suggest that runners should take it slowly. At the finish participants are rewarded with a local breakfast of a Farton Pastry and a drink of Horchata – and of course a bag of Valencia oranges!
We went to the inaugural Malaga breakfast run, so we could forgive a few problems in the organisation on the day. It actually took place on closed roads but we had to wait an hour or so after the advertised start time for the police to give permission for it to go ahead on safety grounds. In the meantime a warm-up run round the track in the athletics stadium was instigated – except most of us hadn’t understood what was happening and thought it was actually the run, and consequently did a few laps before we realised. We particularly liked the free tech t-shirt we were given for the event and the breakfast when the run finally finished.
Castellon de la Plana is on the East coast of Spain, 90km North of Valencia. It is a small (under 1000 runners), friendly but fast Marathon. The breakfast run, in the Parc Ribalta, was free and very informal, and preceded by some announcements in Spanish which we did not understand. It was a very small gathering and we were happily chatting to others runners when the run started, so were very surprised to be led off at a pretty fast pace that soon put an end to the chatting. At breakfast after the run, provided free in a local cafe, we discovered that the race leader who was taking us through our paces was a local runner who also happened to be a Spanish 800m record holder. He pulled no punches.
Not billed as a breakfast run, but the Prime-Tel Corporate 5k serves a similar purpose. This event is pretty anarchic; alongside runners are walkers in jeans and high heels, carrying handbags and shopping, pushing buggies and even stopping in cafes to chat to friends or buy a coffee. Think the largest parkrun ever (10,000 runners) without any race-briefing and you will get some idea of the event. Crazy but good to be part of, and – amazingly – chip-timed with a medal at the finish.