A short history of running in Barcelona: From the Olympics to today’s running culture.

Barcelona is a city with a rich history of sports, including running. The city has been a host to various international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the Barcelona Marathon. In this article, we will explore the history of running in Barcelona, from the early days to the present-day running culture.

The early days of running in Barcelona can be traced back to the late 19th century when the first athletic clubs were formed. These clubs were primarily focused on track and field events, including running. However, running as a standalone sport was not very popular in those days.

It was not until the 1920s and 1930s that running started to gain popularity in Barcelona. The first marathon in Barcelona was held in 1927, and it was won by a local athlete, Joaquim Sala. The race was only 20 kilometers long, but it marked the beginning of Barcelona’s love affair with running.

The 1980s were a turning point for running in Barcelona. In 1983, the Barcelona Marathon was held for the first time, and it was an instant success. The race attracted runners from all over the world, and it quickly became one of the most prestigious marathons in Europe.

The success of the Barcelona Marathon paved the way for other running events in the city. In 1992, Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympics, which brought even more attention to running in the city. The Olympic Stadium, which was built for the Games, is still used today for various sporting events, including running.

Today, running has become a major part of Barcelona’s culture. The city is home to numerous running clubs and events, including the Cursa El Corte Inglés, a popular 10-kilometer race that attracts over 60,000 runners each year.

In addition to traditional races, there has been a surge in the popularity of trail running in Barcelona. The city’s proximity to the mountains and the sea makes it an ideal location for trail runners who want to experience the beauty of the natural surroundings while getting in a good workout.

Running has also become a way for locals and tourists alike to explore the city. There are numerous running tours available that allow runners to discover Barcelona’s history, architecture, and culture while getting some exercise.

In conclusion, running has a long and rich history in Barcelona. From the early days of athletic clubs to the present-day running culture, Barcelona has always been a city that loves sports. The success of the Barcelona Marathon and the 1992 Olympics put the city on the map as a major destination for runners, and today, running has become an integral part of the city’s culture. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are numerous opportunities to run in Barcelona and experience the city in a unique and exciting way.

Kevin Haesendonck

Kevin Haesendonck is a long-distance runner from Leuven (BE) who became best known for diving under 3 hours at the Antwerp Marathon in 2013. He was the founder of the Belgian runners' collective "de Bosrunners" and discoverer of the man with the hammer at 15 km in the marathon. After his retirement at the highest level, he moved to Barcelona, from where he continues to share his knowledge and experience.

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