The San Silvestre Vallecana is a road race spanning approximately 10 kilometers which is held annually in Madrid, Spain and just like the Madrid Marathon
, is one of this Spanish city’s premiere running events. It has been celebrated every year on New Year’s Eve since December 31, 1964 except in 1969. The course runs through both districts of the neighborhood of Vallecas, Madrid and it has a fun run edition for amateur athletes
as well as an elite race edition geared towards experienced professional runners. The race is also categorized between men and women. This means that the times for the male runners are recorded separately from the times of the female athletes, thus there is a men’s category winner and there is a women’s category winner. Though the San Silvestre Vallecana
road race started in 1964, it was not until 1981 that a separate women’s winner was recognized.
The inaugural San Silvestre Vallecana race in 1964 was won by Jesus Hurtado of Spain who also won the race the following year, although his race time and the total distance of the race were not recorded. It was in 1966 when the race organizers decided to record the official times of the racers and measure the actual distance of the course. This time though, the race was won by Mariano Haro, also from Spain, who needed 23 minutes and 34 seconds to finish the course which was then only 7.9 kilometers long. For the women’s category, the inaugural winner was Grete Waitz of Norway who won the race, which was 10 kilometers long in 1981, with a time of 34 minutes and 17 seconds. Over the years, many different runners from different countries participated in the event which resulted in the race having winners of different nationalities. The host country Spain though holds the record for most wins with male Spanish runners winning 15 of the 47 men’s races held while the female Spanish runners dominated the women’s races by winning 20 of the 31 races held since 1981. Furthermore, Isaac Vicosia of Spain holds the individual record for most wins in the men’s category by winning the race a total of 4 times. He won his first San Silvestre Vallecana race in 1996 with a time 25 minutes and 50 seconds although the course for that year was measured to be only 9 kilometers long. He missed out in 1997, 1998, and 1999, but he dominated at the turn of the century by winning the race for 3 consecutive years from 2000 – 2002. On the women’s side, Spain continued their dominance of the race with Spanish runners Patricia Arribas and Marta Dominguez by winning the race 3 times each. Patricia Arribas finished the race first in 1997, 1998, and 2000. Marta Dominguez on the other hand, won the race in 2002, 2003, and 2008.
It should be noted though that the course for the San Silvestre Vallecana road race starts from a high point of 705 meters and ends at a low point of 650 meters. This means that the course has a total drop of 55 meters or an average drop of 5.5 meters per kilometer. Because of this drop, the times attained by runners participating in the San Silvestre Vallecana are not eligible for world record and world ranking purposes.