Time of year: November
Value for money: 3
Crowd support: 5
PB potential: Depends on which wave you start in (See below)
Course: Parts are hilly, with two steep climbs
Competitors: Approx 14000
Locality: San Sebastian is a small, beautiful city which has it all. The sea on one side and the mountains on the other. It’s a paradise for runners, cyclists and triathletes. In the summer there are a lot of local Olympic and sprint distance triathlons, and in the winter there are running races from 10km to marathon distance. After the race, a great idea is to hit the bars and try the local specialities called ‘pintxos’, the Basque traditional tapas or a ‘Sidreria’, a cider house serving huge portions of food and unlimited cider from the barrel.
Getting there: The best way to get to San Sebastian if you’re travelling from outside Spain is to fly to Bilbao and then take a bus or train.
My experience: Behobia is a small town close to the French-Spanish border, and the race takes you along the coast to the capital of the Basque Country, San Sebastian. It’s a beautiful, hilly and testing 20km run with a lot of history and it is very well-supported. The race is huge and the runners are started at ten minute intervals according to their previous times in the race. This year I started in the second wave, as last year I finished in 1h28 after arriving on the last train to Behobia and starting at the very back of 14000 runners! On top of that it had been a cold and wet day and I hadn’t enjoyed it very much. This time was completely different. It was very cold but the sky was clear and blue, the sun was shining and the sea looked beautiful.
I’d recommend the city and the race to any serious runner. There are two or three challenging hills, you run through various scenery including the docks on the way back into San Sebastian and the crowd support as you come into the town is unbelievable. People line the streets waving flags and cheering. What an experience. And when you’re finished, there is a party atmosphere in the city… a great opportunity to hit the bars and try the local specialities pintxos, the Basque traditional tapas or a ‘Sidreria’, a cider house serving huge portions of food and unlimited cider from the barrel.