Thursday, January 6, 2011

Benidorm Half Marathon

Only the optimistic would ever expect brilliant sunshine on November 27, but surely nobody could have predicted that it would turn out to be the wettest day for months. But so it was when the running of the 27th Benidorm half marathon took place. After all the hundreds of hours it must take to arrange such a prestigious event, the organisers must have thought that the Gods were definitely not on their side when the heavens opened on race day. However, despite the cold and very damp conditions, around 2,200 doughty runners finished the race, not to mention the thousands of spectators who lined the puddle-strewn streets of the town to cheer on the hardy competitors.

The winner of the 21.1km race, run for the first time at night, was Mohammed Bilal in the tremendous time of 1:07:25. In second and third places were Michael Ruhe (1:09:08) and Fabian Campanini (1:09:11) respectively, both of CF Puerto de Alicante. The first British runner home was James Reed, running for Altringham and District AC, who finished eighth in a time of 1:12:03.

Saliha Kaldoun, a member of CA Cuevas de Nerja-Uma, was the first woman home in 1:20:35. In second and third places were two British runners, Maria Lowe (1:23:51) of Astley and Tyldesley road runners, and Istead and Ifield harriers' Claire Gaskill (1:27:06).

There should have been three Striders taking part but, unfortunately, Tom succumbed to an injury just before the race (either that or he saw the weather forecast). However Jim and I both braved the conditions. I was very pleased with my time of 1:33:01 (nearly three minutes quicker than 2009), coming eighth (out of 79) in the Vets D category and Jim crossed the line in 1:36:21, in 13th place in the Vets C group.

It was the coldest I'd ever felt after a race but luckily there were foil blankets for everyone available and they were most welcome. However, it is quite a feat trying to take off wringing-wet clobber, put on dry clothing, hang on to your mug 'trophy', keep the blanket wrapped around you and shiver like billy-o at the same time.

A special thank you to Eileen and Ron and Carol who came along to cheer us on, despite the pretty dreadful conditions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jeff's Italian trip

For the past three or four years I have run both a spring and an Autumn marathon, and this year was no exception. My eldest son, Russell, at first suggested the Amsterdam race in October but, after objection from his wife, Maureen, who wanted to 'go somewhere a bit sunny', we settled on Lake Garda.

The Lake Garda district of Italy is a beautiful area, very picturesque and an ideal temperature for racing at that time of year (10th October). Eileen and I decided to treat the trip as our 40th wedding anniversary 'treat' (although that is actually on 19th December). We drove there, a journey that took three days, stopping off in France and Italy.
We stayed in a lakeside resort called Melcesine, which is a charming place, mainly populated, it seemed, by German tourists. We had to catch the 07:00 ferry to the other side of the lake at Limone for the start of the race at 09:30. There were about 1,500 runners of all shapes and sizes taking part. I had hoped to complete my run in three and a half hours, Russell was aiming to get somewhere near his PB of 2:41.
I was going great guns for the first half of the race, waving to all the well wishers as we ran through all the charming little villages en route. I was well on schedule for a sub 3:30, but with about five kilometres to go all my energy just drained away from me. I had been carrying an energy gel pack with me that I had intended taking on board with about an hour's running to go, but, unfortunately, I stumbled and fell and dropped the blooming thing. Iwas also very,very thirsty, even though it wasn't a particularly hot day and I was nowhere near a drinks station. I was that parched I saw a discarded bottle of water by the side of the road, so I just picked it up and drunk the contents, which, were hopefully just water ....mind you I couldn't have cared less at the time.

I could only muster a sort of walk/run from kilometre 37-41, however, I did mange to 'sprint' the final 1,000 metres, but I was feeling pretty knackered at the finish. Normally I can't eat anything after a marathon, but this time I scoffed down everything in sight and then went back for second helpings.
Russell came home in 12th place in an excellent time of 2:50:25. I was 313th overall (fifth in my category) in 3:34:10. We both thought that it was a tough course, as a great deal of it was downhill and there were a lot of cobblestones to negotiate as well. At first I was a tad dissapointed with my time, but later, on reflection, I thought that most blokes of my age would have been pretty pleased with the time, and it was only four minnutes outside the London Marathon good-for-age qualifying time after all....and the last finisher in my age category took 06:14:02.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brian's breakthrough

Last Saturday was the sixteenth running of the 'Carrera Vila D'Altea', an 8.6km race starting in Altea, heading towards Albir and then to the surprise of a few, finishing with a punishing climb up towards Altea's old town.

It was a hot and still day, so the conditions were tough but that didn't stop a few of the striders from putting in some great performances.
A great result for Louise put her on top of the podium in the women's vets C category, and second overall in the women's race with a superb time of 37:46. But I think the surprise of the day was Brian, showing that his recent triathlon style multisporting is paying off in a big way, by finishing ninth in his category in the fantastic time of 40:22.

Other performances were; Jon B 42:50, Don 46:10, Sole 49:22 (4th place,just narrowly missing out on the podium), Roger 50:39 and Des 54:20.

The first three places overall went to Juan Antonio Fernandez Cantos (28:54), Carlos Alegre Sanchez (29:07) and Ricardo Dura Cremades (29:13).

First to finish for the women was Leyre Gallardo Poveda in 37:25 then Louise (37:46) with Pilar Rodriguez Sedeno in third (37:59).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sole steals the show

On Saturday a few of us were in La Xara for the town's 7km race. The course, which included two laps around the town was ideal for fast times and the striders didn't disappoint.

The big news was Sole's fantastic third place in the women's vets C category. After surgery on her meniscus in 2008 she has had to be very patient with her running, dilligently building the strength back up in her knee and running less than she would have liked at times, but Saturday was her reward and showed that she is beginning to find some of her old form again.

There were of course more good performances from several others. Amanda had a great race just edging out one of her newest rivals, Cachita by one second in 31:00. Paul finished in 4th place in the vets B category in a time of 25:45 which placed him 26th overall. Jon B finished well in 31:27.

Rob had another good run, finishing as the first Strider in 31:58, Don ran strongly to finish in 36:21, next was Sole in 36:54 followed by Ron in 38:01, Roger in 38:55 and Carol in 39:06.

The overall race was won convincingly by C.A Dianium's Vicent Mas Leyda in a time of 23:09 with Victor Manuel Fernandez Garcia in second (23:21) and Said Day Day third 23:50.

In the women's race Maxine Mckinnon finished first in the fantastic time of 25:51 followed by Mayca Sala Garcia in 26:49 and Laura Alabau Marti taking third in 28:41