Over a thousand women participate in the 2nd 261 Women’s Marathon

Lotus UK has been working with the very inspirational Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, to raise awareness of the 261 Women's Marathon & 10K, which took place in Palma de Mallorca on International Women's Day. 

The sun was shining and over 1,000 women descended on the city’s Parc de la Mar to participate in Europe's first women's marathon. 

Several hundred women opted for the full marathon, which was won by Elena Daniela Cirlan from Romania, beating the previous record for the event by completing the course in 2 hours 51 minutes and 8 seconds. The ex-Olympic race walker led the race from the very first metre and maintained her lead throughout, clearing nearly a 30 minute lead. Cirlan trained hard for the event in Boulder (Colorado) under the tuition of world champion long distance runner, Lidia Simon. Spanish participants Noelia Mora and Marta Jiménez took joint second place, crossing the finish line after 3 hours 20 minutes and 54 seconds.

In the 10K, which saw a year on year increase in participants of over 50%, Spanish Olympic runner Vanessa Veiga took the title for the second year in a row. Veiga already holds a number of national full and half marathon titles, including the Madrid Marathon. The Galician-born mother of three beat her own goal by completing the course in 36 minutes and 34 seconds. In second place was Laura Benguría (37:29) followed by three times world champion and bronze Olympic mountain biker, Marga Fullana, who completed the race in 37 minutes and 56 seconds.

Other famous faces at Europe’s only women’s marathon included the 1993 1,500m world champion and 800m record holder, Dong Liu (8th in 39:42) and South Korean actress Usun Yoon, who chose Palma and the 261 Women’s Marathon as the location for her first ever run, finishing in 51 minutes and 42 seconds.

Kathrine Switzer was waiting at the finish line to give each and every woman who completed the race a celebratory hug. She commented, “This is such a special project to be involved with and it’s truly magical to celebrate International Women’s Day with all these wonderful ladies, whether they are competing in their first ever run or their 100th. Last year we tested the water and saw that there was a great appetite for a women’s marathon in Europe, and this year both participants and supporters were out in force to prove us right. Palma provides a beautiful backdrop for such a special event and we are looking forward to building on this success and growing the Women’s Marathon and the 261 Fearless movement in Europe and beyond”.

Álvaro Gijón, vice minister of tourism for Palma de Mallorca, commented “It’s been wonderful to see so many different people from so many different countries convene in Palma for this inspirational event. We’re delighted that the city has provided a safe and welcoming base for participants who we have seen enjoying the city’s restaurants, spas, shops and sights before and after the event, while the mild climate - a very comfortable 18°C with no wind on Sunday - made it the ideal location for an outdoor sporting event.”


Images from left to right:

1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua 
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil