Record-Breaking Zurich Marató de Barcelona 2024: A New Route and Unprecedented Participation

Posted by: Watch Athletics

The 45th edition of the Zurich Marató de Barcelona, scheduled for this Sunday, has already created a buzz with its significant milestones and updates. Just a few days before its official presentation at the Olympic and Sports Museum of the Catalan capital, the event announced a complete sell-out of its 20,000 bib numbers, marking the third highest participation in its history and the highest in both this decade and the past five editions, narrowly missing the record set in 2016 with 20,385 participants. "We rank as the second largest marathon in Spain after Valencia, witnessing a growth of almost 5,000 participants compared to last year," Mauro Llorens, the race director, proudly stated.

What stands out is the unprecedented international participation, with 57% of athletes coming from abroad, surpassing previous records. Athletes from 107 different nationalities will grace the event, with a significant number from France and the United Kingdom. Female participation has seen a remarkable increase as well, with women representing 25% of the total runners, making it one of the most female-represented marathons globally. "Having 5,000 women participating is a milestone for us," Llorens emphasized, noting the significant presence of 6,693 Catalan participants among the runners.

This year's marathon introduces a fresh and more central route, starting at Passeig de Gràcia and finishing at Arc del Triomf. This route is not only the most central in the event's history but also touted to be faster. Modifications have reduced the total positive elevation by over 30 meters and cut down the number of turns to just 33, enhancing its speed potential.

David Escudé, the Councilor for Sports at Barcelona City Council, expressed optimism about the route changes, stating, "We are on the right track to offering the best marathon experience in Europe from the perspective of the everyday runner. While the previous route was scenic, the new adjustments have retained its monumental essence, paving the way for what could potentially be the perfect course. Next year's event will be crucial in determining its ultimate success."

This optimized course layout, with fewer slopes and turns, sets the stage for elite athletes to possibly shatter existing marathon records. The men's record, held by Bahrain's Marius Kimutai at 2h5m6s, and the women's by Ethiopian Zeineba Yimer Worku at 2h19m44s, are both under threat. Among the elite contenders are Ethiopians Abebe Negewo, with a personal best of 2h4m51s from Valencia 2019, and Fikre Bekele Tefera, the 2022 Linz winner with 2h6m16s. In the women's category, notable participants include Ethiopia's Degitu Azimeraw, who was second in London 2021 with a time of 2h17m58s, and Zinas Senbeta, the Ljubljana 2023 winner with 2h21m5s. Additionally, the marathon will serve as the Catalan Distance Championship, with five starting waves launching every seven minutes, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The Zurich Marathon Barcelona will be streamed live across the globe, with the live broadcast kicking off at 8:00 am local time. For comprehensive live broadcast details, please refer to the page on Watch Athletics.

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