Usher in the New Year racing through Madrid

Every year on December 31, Madrid stages the increasing popular race which ushers in the New Year. Make sure you keep an eye out when the registration for the event opens because places run out fast!

Usher in the New Year racing through Madrid

Every year on December 31, Madrid stages the increasing popular race which ushers in the New Year. Make sure you keep an eye out when the registration for the event opens because places run out fast!

In 2012, 33,054 people took to the city streets to send off the year and take part in this 10-km race that beautifully combines a very high level of sporting passion and mass participation. Sports and celebration unite in one event that combines costumes and artificial snow with an athletic drive for self-improvement.

The San Silvestre Vallecana comprises two competitions. Participants in the fun run need only be at least 16 years of age. Men going for the professional race must prove that they have run a 10km race over the past year, or the previous edition of the San Silvestre, in under 38 minutes, while women have 45 minutes.

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San Silvestre Vallecana 2010, Jessica Augusto The fun run, which this year celebrates its 36th edition, starts out at 5:30 pm and is organized by times, making it faster and more relaxed since it allows participants to run at their own pace. Both pros and amateurs can certify their best time and register for the corresponding category. There are nine slots (<38', <42', <45', <48', <50', <52', <55', <60' and +60'), each with a different colored bracelet. The international competition, (which is on its 49th edition and in 2012 was won by Ethiopian runners Tariku Bekele and Gelete Burka), starts out at 8pm. This race puts the spotlight on star runners taking part, such as Carlos Lopes, Ondoro Osoro, Paul Bitok, Martin Fiz, John Brown, Chema Martínez, Benita Johnson and Tadesse Tola. An enjoyable route The race departs from the city's financial center: Calle Concha Espina (next to Paseo de la Castellana. Metro station: Santiago Bernabeu) and passes by tourist locations such as Puerta de Alcala, Cibeles and the Art Walk. Athletes will be running from one football pitch to another, since the Nuevo Vallecas stadium, which is home to the Rayo Vallecano football team, is the official finishing line for the professional race (amateurs reach the grounds outside the stadium). The course is not too demanding since 8 of its 10 kilometers are slightly downhill-with occasional bits uphill. Participants must gather all their strength for the final stretch, though, which goes uphill, in particular between km. 8 and 9.

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