If there is a mythical number in athletics, that is nº 42. These are the kilometres that separate the start and the finish in a marathon. And next March 15, the Zurich Marató Barcelona will arrive to its 42nd edition. It is a good moment to remember, briefly, all the marathons that have been celebrated in Barcelona to date.
1978. Ramón Oliu creates the race, which was celebrated in Palafrugell (Girona) as there was not obtained the permission from Barcelona’s City Council to be disputed in Barcelona. It was the first popular marathon celebrated in Spain.
1979. Dave Patterson from the United States and the Catalan Matilde Gómez repeat victory. Gómez reduced in 37 minutes his previous record.
1980. First edition celebrated in Barcelona, a city that didn’t host a marathon since 1955, when the Mediterranean Games were organized.
1981. The start, as in 1980, is from the Avenue María Cristina, but, unlike the previous year, the finish is in the Stadium Serrahima.
1982. The winners are Michael Pinocci (2h14’30) and the Portuguese Rita Borralho (2h46’58) who sign the masculine and feminine records of the race.
1983. Anti-doping controls are carried out for the first time and Allan Zachariasen finishes in 2h11’05, a very relevant record that remained record of marathon for 15 years.
1984. Barcelona has been designed Olympic city few weeks before, which contributed to a spectacular increase of participants (54%).
1985. For the first time, the winners are Catalan: Rafa García and Quima Casas.
1986. For the first time, a marathon is broadcasted live in Spain. The race started at 11am to adapt the schedule to that of TVE 2, the channel that offered the race.
1987. Cash prizes are given for the first time. Half million pesetas for the winners. Quima Casas achieves his third victory after 1980 and 1985. She holds the record of victories.
1988. Probably the most demanding circuit of all. The start and arrival, in the Olimpic Stadium were on a raise. It was also necessary to overcome the street Muntaner to Bonanova.
1989. The Belgian Martine van der Gehutche is the winner with a fantastic record of 2h37’41 and breaks the feminine record of the race.
1990. It is inaugurated what would be the Olympic circuit two years later: start in Mataró and arrival to the Stadium of Montjuïc.
1991. Japan conquers Barcelona. The Japanese Kasid Nishimoto and Satoe Minegishi are the winners.
1992. It is celebrated four months and a half before that of the Olympic Games, which was a great incentive to make it more popular. There were 5.694 finishers, the double than the previous year.
1993. The unknown Volmir Herbstrith from Brazil surprises all the favourite ones. He assures that his secret was to run … 300 km a week!
1994. Benito Ojeda achieves the first one of his two victories in the Marathon of Barcelona. He does it with authority, leading the race from the beginning to the end.
1995. Andreu Ballbé introduces the chip, imported from Germany, to time the records. It was used for the first time in Spain.
1996. The winner is the Maltese Gisella Gamilleri in the first marathon of her life.
1997. The arrival in the Olympic Stadium is suppressed and is situated behind the Magic Fountains of Montjuïc, having access from the street Lleida.
1998. The Moroccan Abdselam Serrock (2h9’48) breaks the record of the race, in force for the last 18 years. It was the first time someone finished in less than 2h10 in Spain.
1999. The power of debutants. The Kenyan Daniel Komen and the Catalan Eva Sanz win in the first marathon of their lives.
2000. The last time the start is from Mataró. Mataró has been the starting point throughout the 90’s.
2001. The limit time to complete the race is, for the first time, 6 hours. That meant cutting traffic for many hours. A battle that, finally, began to win.
2002. The marathon continues getting updated. For the first time, registrations can be done online.
2003. After six years of African victories, the winner is Alberto Juzdado from Madrid, who along with Martín Fiz and the failed Diego García did an historic triplet in the European Championship of Helsinki (1994).
2004. As a novelty, to encourage the participation, is made in a parallel way the Thrid, which was not exactly third of a marathon (14.065 meters), but 13.500 meters.
2006. The marathon was not celebrated in 2005 and RPM starts organising the marathon. The circuit is a success as it is entirely urban passing through the most touristic sites.
2007. The record of participation is broken with 7.413 runners, in force since the Olympic Games (1992) with 6.586 participants. For the first time, there is the possibility of putting the name of the participant in the race number.
2008. More finishers than ever (7.609). Another important aspect is that it was the marathon with more spectators to date.
2009. The Greek athlete based in Spain, Alexandra Panayotou, finishes the race after having started in Palafrugell, running non-stop. She run a total of 220 km.
2010. Jackson Kotut finished in 2.07.30. A record that was broken 9 years after. It was the best record ever achieved in a marathon in Spain.
2011. For the first time there are more than 15.000 participants.
2012. the number of 16.216 finishers makes Barcelona the 4th European marathon and the 13rd in the world.
2013. The Expo Sports is strongly consolidated with 169 exhibitors, visited by more than 60.000 people. Record figures.
2014. The Ethiopian Abayu Getachew, 23 years, born in Jato, the same village of Abebe Bikila and with a certain physical resemblance, is the winner.
2015. An edition full of novelties and improvements: it is created the Kids Race, the APP that allows the relatives to follow a runner, there are established water station points every 2,5 km from Km 5…
2016. Record of participants in the history of the race. It is surpassed the barrier of 20.000 race numbers with 20.385 athletes registered. The Kenyan Valery Jemeli finishes in 2h25’26, record of the race and best record achieved by a woman in a marathon celebrated in Spain.
2017. Jonah Kipkemoi Chesum (Kenya) a Paralympic athlete with a malformation in his right arm, is the protagonist of a beautiful feat. He ran as a pacemaker and finally he won.
2018. The 40th edition debuts the stamp of the European Athletics Association.
2019. The edition of the records. Alemu Bekele (2h06’04) from Bahrain, beats for more than one minute the previous record, in force since 2010. The Ethiopian Kuftu Tahir reduces the female record up to 2h24’44.