Wanting to both satisfy my running fix and participate in a BCN tradition, I registered for the famous Jean Bouin 10K race for the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, I know, no one in the US would dream of running a 10K after all that turkey. For me, this race had the strangest “carb load” meal of all time: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, courtesy of a UC Berkeley architecture professor who is on the Fulbright as well.
The Jean Bouin race has been run every year since 1920 – its namesake was a French track athlete who medaled in the first-ever 5000m race at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Bouin was killed in action during WWI, inspiring the good people of BCN to name a race in his honor. And thus the Jean Bouin race was born, and is as interesting as ever 91 years later. The course itself was amazing, touring the busiest streets in BCN (see the attached picture): starting/ending at Placa d’Espanya and including the Gran Via (the main artery in the city, kms 1-4), Espacio de Colomb (along the sea, kms 5.5-7), and Para-lel (the street that bisects the Barri Gothic and the Raval, kms 7-9). 10,000 runners participated (10K for a 10K), and the sheer density of the runners made the race that much more energetic and enjoyable. I almost wish I’d have brought my camera along with me for the run to capture the buildings lining the Gran Via – without the hazards of Spanish traffic!