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.