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Samuel Jepson of Grantham Running Club completes the 2023 Valencia Marathon

With a growing reputation as one of the fastest marathons in the world, it's a wonder that only one member of Grantham Running Club escaped the bitter frost and snow to run the 2023 Valencia Marathon.

Samuel Jepson thankfully didn’t make the trip alone with chief logistical support Andrew Pask alongside for the ride.

These arrangements were a direct swap of the same event last year with unerring parallels playing out 364 days apart.

Sam Jepson
Sam Jepson

Long flight delays and train delays coloured travels as they tried to escape the plummeting temperatures in the United Kingdom.

A debilitating chest infection for Sam just 10 days prior to the race meant he 'tried' to adopt a mindset of 'enjoying the experience' which largely played out for the first 15 miles.

Greeted by perfect conditions of blue skies, a 10 degrees starting temperature and little to no wind just after the Spanish sunrise he was present, smiling, acknowledging the crowd and noticing landmarks along the pancake flat course.

Clocking the halfway point at exactly 1:32 supported the notion that it went well initially.

Cliché it may be the second half is still a long time for things to develop.

From 16 miles on and each mile thereafter, it became harder and harder to 'enjoy' it.

Fighting previously mentioned chest issues, a cramping calf, nausea and the mental demons that come with the above meant a drop in pace and switch to 'survival mode'.

The highlights came in the guise of running through the stunning landmarks and architecture of the Old Town and the raucous crowd thronging the streets in the final 3km.

Approaching the famous blue matted finish over the water of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, he clocked 03:11:58.

Philosophical but of course disappointed, Sam's relationship with marathoning is only beginning as he promises to be back at some point.

The race was won by Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia in 02:01:48 – a course record. Worknesh Degafa, also of Ethiopia, triumphed in the ladies' race in 02:15:51.

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