Half Marathon in Lisbon: the Discoveries

Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, hosts three major half marathon races: one on the 25th of April Bridge, one on the Vasco da Gama Bridge and one in Belém.

25th of April Bridge Half Marathon

In March every year since 1991, in 2016 on the 20th, the half marathon of the Bridge 25th of April takes place. It starts at 10h00 and its course reaches its peak with the crossing of the Bridge 25th of April. It’s a very friendly course as it is flat and very fast. The course is one of the most emblematic ones of Lisbon as the Start is at the tolls’ square of the bridge, on the other side of the Tagus River, and the Finish Line is in front of the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém.

During summer there are some more half marathons going on in Portugal, but not is Lisbon. There is one in Lagos, in the Algarve, in Peso da Régua, in the Douro Region, in Coimbra, and also in the region near Lisbon.

Vasco da Gama Bridge Half Marathon

The next half marathon of Lisbon takes place in October every year and crossed the other bridge of Lisbon, the Vasco da Gama Bridge. This race is part of the Marathon of Lisbon which starts in Cascais and finished in Lisbon on the same place as the Lisbon Half Marathon. This race is part of the world Rock ‘n’ Roll series.

Half Marathon of the Discoveries

The third half marathon of Lisbon is a winter race, taking place in the beginning of December every year. This year, the Half Marathon of the Discoveries will be on December 6th. Like the other two marathons, this race is very flat and fast and it’s got the benefit of the colder weather as in March and October, sometimes competitors of the Half Marathons were surprised by summer temperatures.

The name of this Half Marathon, the Discoveries, is related to the Discoveries epoch of Portugal. The Portuguese Discoveries (“Descobrimentos” in Portuguese) refer to the numerous territories and maritime routes discovered by the Portuguese.  During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese sailors embarked on an intensive maritime exploration, discovering and mapping the coasts of Africa, Canada, Asia and Brazil. Some of the main discoverers are Bartolomeu Dias, who reached the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean in 1488 and Vasco da Gama, who started the maritime route from Portugal to India. This Half Marathon of Lisbon is called like this because it starts in the parish of Belém where one can find many monuments related to the Discoveries like the Tower of Belem, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Monastery of Jerónimos, where Vasco da Gama is buried.

The Lisbon Half Marathon of the Discoveries is a very family friendly race, especially with its third edition (in 2015) which also included a 10km race and a 5km walk. In my opinion, this half marathon is the best of Lisbon because it is much smaller than the other two and hence is less confusing. Also the route, despite the exciting fact of running on the bridges in the other two cases, this race has a very nice route, along the Tagus River and passing Lisbon’s city centre. As mentioned before, also due to the weather this race is my favourite half marathon in Lisbon because in March and October we always have the risk to be surprised with a hot day and I prefer to run in the cold.

If this race sounds cool to you and you’re planning on visiting Lisbon in the beginning of December, let me know. I’d be delighted to help you to arrange a BIP number and all other logistics!

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