What, when and why of the San Silvester Races

17 December 2015 0 Comments Category: Active Lifestyle, blog, Fleur Van de Put, Living in Spain

run for fun

colorful paradeA typical Spanish tradition at Christmastime is the San Silvester Run. A running event on New Year’s Eve. The biggest one, is the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid. But, where does it come from and what does it exactly mean?

Saint Silvester’s day is called after the Catholic Pope Silvester I, who died on 31 December in 335 in Rome. The San Silvester Road Race was held for the first time in Sâo Paulo in Brazil on December 31st in the year 1925. What started out as a run with 48 participants, has grown to a race with 30.000 participants in Brazil. San Silvestre Vallecana was held for the first time in 1964 in Madrid. This race is even bigger, than the race in Sâo Paulo, with 40.000 participants. It is separated in a part for professional athletes and the other part is for everyone else.

The last couple of years, the race became very popular all over Spain. In all the big cities you can run this race:

disguiseThese runs are for the whole family. Young and old can participate in this family-event. In Valencia it is also a tradition to wear a Christmas disguise. It is a colorful parade of Santa Clauses, Reindeers, Elves and Superheroes. It does not always take place on the 31st of December. The San Silvester races are held between the 17th of December and (día de los Reyes) January 6th. Even if you are not a great runner, it is a fun experience. The distance varies between 5k and the 10k. Many smaller towns also organise a run. The Province of Valencia counts 51 different San Silvester races. Do you need more motivation. There is still time, to sign-up. Happy Holidays. Enjoy the season and stay healthy!