One week after Challenge Henley we arrived to our very welcoming home at Sands Beach Resort on Lanzarote.
Immediately we saw one of the many races being organised. It was a trail run race. I did'nt think anything of it to begin with, after all I had just raced Challenge Henley and I had just retired! However Sands Beach offered me an entry to this race, ...so it got me thinking!
I was told it involved an 18km run in the morning and a 25km in the afternoon. Then the next day another 24km. Wow, what a challenge! It sounded fun! So I signed up.
At 9am the gun went off at Teguise castle and off we went down the road, for 300m before turning left. Left up a really rough and rocky path, then the path turned into loose gravel going down the side of the steep mountain that the castle is built on. I was running well for the first 300m! Everything felt good, but as soon as we hit the gravel, I was in unknown territory! I knew it was going to be offroad, but I did'nt realise it could be so rough! The trail runners who obviously practise this type of running flew past me. Girls, guys, everyone, but as soon as it got smooth or going uphill I would catch a few back up.
I ran with the womans favourite for many parts of the first 18km, but she was so good on the rough parts and the down hill parts. Xari Adrian, Spanish Mountain Running Champion. She left me in her dust over the rocky sections and took 2 minutes out of me by the finish line.
We arrived at Famara Beach after having gone a way I have never even imagined going! It gave me great views of Lanzarote that I have never seen before. Met at the finish line by Stephen and Charlie and I was looking forward to getting my bag, changing my clothes and picking up more gels before the next race. But no bags. Instead after a quick drink it was time to get on a little boat to La Graciosa. We all piled in, Charlie thought it was great fun watching Mummy climb onto the boat! Luckily Stephen had a Mars bar in his pocket that he threw to me as we were whisked away.
After about 30 minutes we were getting close to a paradise beach, the athletes started jumping out and swimming ashore when the boat was having difficulties getting close to shore. I got ready to jump in, I looked a better swimmer than all of them! :) but then I remembered my half eaten mars bar, and my phone they told me to carry! No way am I getting them wet! So I waited for another boat to take me ashore while many of them including Xari the Spanish Champion ran off on the next race.
I dont think it really mattered they started ahead of me, as there was a timing chip to start each of our times again, but they were eager to go!
For the next 10km I was doing ok, it was hard work in the deeper sand sections but it was when I hit the loose lava that I really struggled. I just could not run over these rough sections. I was laughing to myself, thinking I would never choose to run over this! So I walked that next 5km. At the 13km drink station I stood a while contemplating another 12km...
but I went on, jogging, shuffling, walking. I saw beautiful parts. Perfect empty paradise beaches with hot sun. Anyway, I got to the finish line. I am sure I had lost 20+ minutes to Xari in the end. Anyway, I did'nt care, well done Xari and everyone else that got around. I went straight into the sea to cool off and try to sooth my locked legs before getting the big boat back to Lanzarote to meet back up with Stephen and Charlie.
The next day was the final stage of the race, 24km starting at Sands Beach Resort. I had decided not to start. I could hardly walk not alone run! Charlie and I went to hand my chip in before the start, everyone was walking around looking fine. Obviously they practise this kind of race! I recommend anyone who practises off road to come and do this race, it was a great fun challenge. But if you only run on tarmac, like me, probably best you dont run this race!