Countdown to the San Silvestre Vallecana: history, journeys and curiosities

Countdown to the San Silvestre Vallecana: history, journeys and curiosities

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In Madrid there are two types of people: there are those who spend the afternoon of December 31 preparing the New Year’s Eve dinner with family or friends, and then there are those who enjoy the last hours of the year running the traditional (and very funny) San Silvestre Vallecana. A mythical race with a journey of 10 kilometers and with almost sixty years of history that gathers thousands of riders every year.

Although it can seem like a simple race celebrated on the eve of the new year, the San Silvestre Vallecana is a race that has marked a before and after of the running dates in Spain. A date that started in the year 1964 with about 50 runners, a really precarious offer (so precarious that the prize was a simple sandwich) and a handful of anecdotes. The funniest ones? They were the tales of the nerves of its organizers that forgot to request the required permission from the city council of Madrid.

Talking about the San Silvestre Vallecana in our day is to make the illusion of an evening race where more than 40,000 runners participate (among them are many thousands of women, something to emphasize now because in another time it wasn’t allowed) that have given an extra value to this neighborhood of the city, the popular neighborhood of Vallecas. Its first name? The “Great Prize of Vallecas.”

Organized with special care by a diverse level of organizers and with sponsorship from international sports brands (Nike is a main sponsor), the Madrid race in this new edition has the beautiful neighborhood of Serrano as the starting point (a few meters from our Petit Palace President Castellana).

From there, after passing the Petit Palace Lealtad Plaza and the roundabout of Cibeles, participants will head to Paseo de El Prado (near our Petit Palace Santa Bárbara hotel) to go to Vallecas, the closing point of a new edition that promises laughter, sport and a lot of (so much) emotion.

Info on the history of the San Silvestre Vallecana

  • The first edition was celebrated thanks to a budget of only 5,000 pesetas.
  • Women began participating in the year 1981.
  • Some of its “madrinas” have been Anne Igartiburu, Bárbara Rey or Elsa Pataky among many other singers, actresses and television presenters.
  • The name change was suggested by the journalist of the newspaper Marca José Luis Gilabert.
  • The race became “popular” thanks to popular speaker Pepe Domingo Castaño.
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