Each year in October, Palma de Mallorca hosts a world-famous marathon that takes runners across cobblestone streets through the picturesque old town and along the paseo marítimo and its stunning views of Palma Bay. If you’re an athlete, this marathon is not for the faint of heart—I ran it in 2022—but it is a rewarding experience and lively event filled with numerous festivities. If you’re not an athlete, consider visiting Palma to watch the marathon, support the runners and enjoy the celebration.
In 2023, the 19th Palma Marathon Mallorca will be held on October 15th. It starts at 8 am at the Parc de la Mar in front of the cathedral. In addition to the full marathon, there is a half marathon and 9-km race as well.
The Marathon: 26.2 Miles Through the Old Town
I ran the marathon in 2022, and let me tell you—it’s a tough one. You start by running from Parc de la Mar along the paseo marítimo to Porto Pi. There you turn around and run back all the way to Portixol. Then you run up avenidas and enter the Old Town, winding through various streets like Sant Miquel and La Rambla and passing in front of the Cathedral before coming back to the park.
Doesn’t sound like 26.2 miles (42.2 km)? That’s because it’s not. That’s just the half marathon. You have to do the whole thing again.
Aside from the psychological exhaustion of having to do it twice, the Palma marathon is particularly difficult because of the hard but uneven cobblestone streets. Plus, although the roads are closed off to cars, the Old Town streets get crowded with people later in the day, and you have to dodge them just as your legs are going numb.
Nevertheless, it’s well worth the experience. The views are beautiful, the people are supportive, the surrounding festivities are fun, and the finish is rewarding. Plus, at the end, there’s food and beer, even several booths for free post-race massages.
Race Number Pickup and Pasta Party
You can pick up your race number on the Friday and Saturday before the race at Parc de la Mar from 11 am to 7 pm. On Saturday, there’s also a “pasta party” in the same area from 12 to two. With your athlete wristband, you get a free serving of pasta to help carbo-load before the race on Sunday.
Palma Marathon Mallorca: History and Fun Facts
2023 represents the 19th iteration of the Palma marathon. The inaugural event was held in October 2005 when around 3,000 athletes, 80 percent of whom were German, took on its 26 miles for the first time.
Compare this to last year. 6,000 competitors from over 60 countries ran the race, and Aziz Boutoil of Morocco won with a time of 2:27:14 and a pace of 3:29 per kilometer.
This year’s race is set to be even more diverse with runners from 69 countries. Thirty-seven percent are German and 22 percent British. Spanish athletes represent 10 percent of competitors.
Palma Marathon Mallorca is also very active online.
Obviously the most important part of the Palma Marathon Mallorca is the race itself, including the half marathon and 9k. However, there are a ton of peripheral events, parties and expositions.