Astana Marathon, Reviewed 15 September, 2019
06 September, 2019
The 10km race (no half marathon event) was circular in nature, just like the full marathon. Within the last 15 minutes that I was on the course, the weather conditions changed immensely as compared to during my run on the earlier part. For example, first it was a bit windy, then bright sunshine appeared and it warmed up for a few minutes and then shortly after I had crossed the finish line, intense rain and dark clouds appeared. It is a pity that there could not be more post-race festivities, but it was simply unpleasantly chilly/cold -- I did start to shiver, and ti was simply not comfortable weather for folks to continue to hang out after finishing. It was also great to see runners who had finished earlier or who had run the shorter 10km race spending time to high-five runners on the course as the former walked back to their homes or to catch public transit. There were also some early finishers or 10km runners who were holding up signs and cheering during the last few kilometers of the track, at the turning points near the finish line. That was great to see and they were motivational - although I'm certain that they scattered once the heavy rains started after the sunshine quickly ended. So for volatile weather - either pro or con - this is a great race to challenge oneself in new conditions and while seeing some other-worldly sights along the core area of an amazing new city that is just over 20 years old. Having run through China extensively, new city landscapes are common to me, as they appear in many marathons, but there is still a special, intriguing charm to the Astana course and to the race's overall remoteness and, hence, exotic appeal -- despite not taking place on a desert island.