Watching the Zurich Marathon of Seville

Feb. 26, 2019, 4:50 p.m.

Grab your best pair of tennis shoes because we’re hitting the ground running in today’s blog post!

The story of this particular day begins the same way most Sunday mornings of my life have started: being late to church.

After getting completely ready to walk out of the apartment, I checked my phone just in time to notice that there was a text from the pastor of the college community group I attend. He was reminding us that church was moved back to 5 pm that evening due to the Seville Marathon taking place in the morning...oops.

Since I was already wide awake and ready, I changed into some leggings and tennis shoes and strolled down my street to see if I could catch a glimpse of the race. To my surprise, as soon as I exited my building and turned to the left, I could see and hear hundreds of runners going by, just a stone’s throw away!

I arrived just as the thickest wave of runners was going by. I stood and watched for a few minutes, then decided to test my luck and head over the river and into the city to see where they were running to!

Now this might sound strange, but I get very emotional when I watch races. More specifically, I get emotional when I watch people watching races.

My dad ran several marathons during my childhood. Some of my fondest memories are traveling to different cities, waking up at the crack of dawn, and being planted along the race course to watch him as he ran by. The anticipation of seeing him coming was just so exciting every time. We were so proud when he ran up to us for a high five or a hug. That was our dad—doing such an amazing thing! Every time I see a little kid waiting for mom or dad I can’t help but tear up; those moments are just saturated with joy.

The sides of the streets were packed with people shouting “¡Vamos!” at the top of their lungs. I’m pretty sure that translates to “Come on!” in English.

They pretty much stick to that one line when they cheer. As someone who knows very little Spanish, I can certainly appreciate the simplicity.

As I made my way into the city center, I thought I heard some loud music coming from Plaza de España. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to move in that direction.

I was delighted to find that the race course was set up to go right through the plaza! Even better, it seemed that no runners had reached this point in the race yet. So, I found a great spot on the curb—one with a view, of course—and waited almost a half hour until the first runners went by.

Slowly, a string of runners began entering one side, running the full semicircle of the plaza, and exiting the other side right in front of me.

The crowd was thin at first...

Then before I knew it, the landmark was spitting out runners in giant groups.

I stayed at that location until the bulk of runners went through, then I needed another change of pace. Conveniently, the finish line was right on my way home!

Who doesn’t love watching people finish a race? You get to watch as dreams are fulfilled one by one as the racers cross that line.

It took some careful maneuvering to find a way home that didn’t involve me getting trampled by marathoners, but eventually I made it back to my neighborhood.

Walking down the street to my apartment was like stepping into a different world. There was nothing but total silence. It’s pretty normal for Sunday’s to be very quiet in Seville, but coming from such a loud, high-energy atmosphere made it seem almost eerie.

This experience was one of my favorites so far because for the first time I didn’t feel like a total foreigner. I was just another person watching the race. I didn’t know when this moment of transition would come, but I’m so happy that it finally did.

I still don’t fit in perfectly here, but I really treasure these times when Seville feels more and more like home.