Monday, July 18, 2011

Cursa Muntanya Torrelavit 10km



Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mactaylors/sets/72157627097741915/


Whilst holidaying near Barcelona I found this local 10km hill/trail race to
do up in the mountains. Not a bad little race and my first experience of
Spanish running.

Ε’The Fiesta de L¹Esport, Torrelavit¹ included a couple of kids races, but
the main event was the 10km. Set in a small town in what appeared to be the
middle of nowhere, over 300 runners turned up to run. Torrelavit¹s version
of Stuart Hay, the race organiser Juango Marquez did his bit for
international relations and gave me a number, despite the race bookings
closing 2 days earlier. Muchas gracius! I was the only UK and English
speaking runner so the language barrier was a problem. Despite a 7.30pm
start, it was still 28C on the thermometer and heat was going to be my
biggest problem. I noticed none of the runners were carrying water, so not
wanting to look like a loser before we started I ditched mine. A good move
as water stations at 2km and 6km (on a 10km race!) provided welcome
refreshments.

I nudged my way to the middle of the crowd at the start. No starting pistol
here though. Instead they light a Roman Candle and when it explodes (in
amongst the crowds of screaming kids) it is a mad dash through the narrow
streets before heading out to the local vineyards. Overtaking was a
challenge as the route was lined with cacti and other nasty prickle bushes.
The path was a dry, dusty, stony path and sun was burning. By 2km the water
station was timely as by then my mouth was so dry it resembled something
like Ghandi¹s flip flop. From here on it was a circular route of ups and
downs. Occasionally there would be a bit of shade in the woods but the heat
was draining. The downhill sections were a challenge too as they headed down
badly eroded paths. I hit the breaks a little there as I was trying to
remember what exactly my travel insurance did cover. I wasn¹t sure falling
down a ravine was one of them!
I carried my water and used it to cool down later on. This seemed to annoy
some guy behind me who kept shouting at me. I plodded on leaving him to
sweat it out. Other hazards included a variety of reptiles that run across
the path. The course was circular and at 9km we were heading down hill on
familiar ground. But just as I settled in for a sprint home, another spike
of a climb faced me. It caught me out as I¹d used up quite a bit of energy
and it forced me to a walk. At the top of it I could see the figure of an
athlete collapsed on the ground. The heat had taken its toll on him. The guy
in front shouted something at him and he responded so I knew he wasn¹t dead!
I shouted ³Ee¹ argh mate not far now², but he just groaned something back in
Spanish. I was of little use to him so I ran past and decided to get help.
Fortunately someone else had the same idea and an ambulance passed me as I
ran to the finish line. At the finish line I was delighted to hear cheering
kids. I later discovered it was a recording of them (probably taken when
they let off the Roman Candle) that is triggered by your chip as you pass
the sensor. After a cool down I collected my goody bag and then indulged in
the post race feed of fruit, cake, chocolate and Coke. Sadly no prizes for
me, although I was happy with a position of 24th and a time of 47minutes, a
nice techy t-shirt and the unusual gift of a carton of Christmas soup!

Richard