Castellón de la Plana was part of the Moorish Kingdom of Valencia before it was officially established as a town in 1251. Today, it is the capital city of the Valencian province of Castellón in eastern Spain. We traveled to the city by taking the 21:15 PM Vueling Airlines flight into Valencia from Brussels on Friday, February 16, 2018.
It was almost midnight when we arrived in Valencia. A 12 euro cab ride took us to the TRYP Alafata Manises Hotel nearby where we spent the night. We had breakfast first before the free hotel shuttle took us back to the airport where we got on Metro 5 and got off at Xàtiva, next door to the Estacion del Nord Station. The station was a throwback to the past with its architecture and mosaic walls.
The Renfe train to Castellón de la Plana took an hour and a half. We arrived before noon and walked to the Eurohotel in front of the train station. The Eurohotel was one of the official hotels of the race; they gave us a special rate of 77€ for one night with buffet breakfast for two and a late checkout.
As usual, we were too early for the universal 2:00 PM European hotel check-in time so we left our luggage and walked to the La Pergola inside Parque Ribalta for the bib pick-up. General registration fee was 40€ with an additional 5€ for the ChampionChip rental.
I could not resist having our photo taken with the Star Wars cosplayers at the race expo.
We walked around the area before heading back to the hotel.
The upscale El Cortes Ingles department store was next door to the race expo. We left with three new neck buffs we purchased on sale. They were end of season wool neck buffs for cool and cold weather that I can use for future races.
The goody bag.
The VIII Maratón BP Castellón 2018 started at 9:00 AM with five and a half hour time limit. There were 958 marathoners with 107 female runners. Security was tight.
The weather was cool at 9 degrees Celsius, climbing up to 17 degrees in the afternoon. We started at Avenida Vila Real, finishing at the now familiar Parque Ribalta.
The course was flat and the aid stations well stocked with the usual provisions of water, bananas, and oranges. Ohhhh. . .the Valencian oranges! They have the best tasting oranges and I took the time to savor them at the aid stations! They must be the reason why I ran just a teeny bit faster! I clocked in at 5:11:10 real time and an official time of 5:11:58. Finishers received the medal and a large marathon towel.
A quick shower and we caught the 15:07 Renfe train back to Valencia, arriving at Estacion del Nord at 16:10. With the race over, I was able to enjoy the view from the train and noticed the miles and miles of orange groves along the way.
We dropped off our luggage at Hotel Zenit around the corner.
Bus 35 took us to Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias. Bus fare was 1,50€ each way. The science complex was huge and very modern looking.
The night view from the hotel was beautiful.
We had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe near the hotel before calling it a night. We were up early for our flight back to Brussels at 7:30 AM on Monday, February 19, 2018. I was back at work in the afternoon.