On 20 May next, Getxo will be hosting a new edition of the Bizkaia Bridge Half Marathon.The race is run over a flat course that joins the two ends of the Hanging Bridge, skirting the estuary, and is suitable for all publics.
The fifth edition of this consolidated athletics meet once again offers its two customary competition modes, running and rollers, thus making it a unique event as it is the half marathon in all Bizkaia for skaters and one of the few available nationally.
One of the curious features of this course is that each year the start and finish lines alternate: one year it starts from Getxo and finishes in Portugalete and vice versa the following year.
This year it is Portugalete’s turn to start the race, which will then pass through the municipalities of Sestao, Barakaldo, Bilbao, Erandio and Leioa to end in Getxo.
This feature shows how, prior to the industrial revolution, the inhabitants of these towns had to go around the river to reach the other bank of the Nervión River. This fact also explains why Bizkaia Bridge was built in the 19th century, an industrial icon that would join two towns that were so close but at the same time so far from each other.
The deadline for entry registration is 13 May. If you are interested in taking part, enter www.21kpuentebizkaia.com and take up the challenge!
A COURSE WITH HISTORY
The Santurce-Bilbao race began as a tribute to the route the lady sardine-sellers walked all along the bank of the estuary to Bilbao. At a later date the Bizkaia Bridge Half Marathon arose as a reminder of the history of the port of Bilbao at the end of the 19th century.
In the past, boats could not go as far as Bilbao with their sails unfurled, hence the figure of the sirgueras, women who pulled boats using a rope, dragging them upriver from the shores of Las Arenas; they tied the rope around their body with a brace and generally worked in teams of four. On the way back, upon leaving Portugalete along the right-hand bank, they virtually retraced the tow route they had used to drag the boats.
From el Abra (the estuary mouth) to el Arenal in Bilbao, they could be seen undertaking this task, as onerous as it was important; it was essential for enabling boats to sail up the estuary. A historical fact sufficiently important for a modern sporting event to pay it tribute, the 21K Bizkaia Bridge.