Many runners who register to run a marathon usually have a sole aim of just improving their personal best times there, not caring what position they take, nor if there are any prizes on offer for top runners. Surprisingly, there is one marathon that pays handsomely runners who break their personal best times there.
The Trinidad Alfonso EDP Valencia marathon is unique in its ingenuity to put in new ideas and projects to reward personal self-improvement in their race, every year, so that both the best runners and the ones who come immediately after them can improve on their personal best times. Starting last year, the Valencia Marathon has been supplying 3 groups of male pacemakers and 3 groups of female pacemakers that run at paces under 2h20:00 and 2h45:00.
In 2015, there were prizes for those athletes who met the Olympic qualification times at the Valencia marathon. This year, cash prizes will be given to anyone who runs their personal best time in the race, provided it is run under the specified respective times for men and women. The program dubbed "Personal Best" will award special prizes from Euro 2,000 to 4,000 to those athletes who, no matter what their result is, beat their personal best times in Valencia. This will be as long as their times are under 2h20:00 for men and 2h45:00 for women.
The organization, SD Correcaminos and the Valencia City Government, will support this program by covering 3 days of stay and maintenance (from the 19th to the 20th of November) of those runners from any country who expressly request to be included in Personal Best program, and who meet all requirements and provide documentary evidence of a personal best in the last 4 years (from 2014 to 2017)sub 2h20:00 (or sub 1h06:00 or sub 30:15 in the Half Marathon and 10,000 meters, respectively) and to all female runners sub 2h45:00 (or sub 1h17:00 or sub 35:30 in the Half Marathon and 10,000 meters, respectively).
It is important to note that Valencia marathon supports clean sporting and that runners who have served serious doping bans imposed by the IAAF, the WADA or the AESPAD will not qualify for Personal Best program, regardless of the time in their careers when this happened or whether they have already complied with it. The cash prizes will also be awarded once the results of the doping tests performed in the race prove negative.
So far, great elite fields worthy of the IAAF gold label status of the race have been assembled which is a recipe for a thrilling race. The list on the men's side include Emmanuel Mutai (2:03:13), Sammy Kitwara (2:04:28), Bernard Koech (2:04:53), Eliud Kiptanui (2:05:21) and Evans Chebet (2:05:31), among others.
But, perhaps those who stand a better chance of winning the prizes for improving their times will be the semi-elites and the upcoming runners who will need that prize in their mind to motivate them through the marathon.
I wonder what other amazing program of self-improvement that the Valencia marathon will pull out again next year on 2nd December, but I will be on standby waiting for it. As at now, it is already on my list of marathons to consider for next year.