Club La Santa Half Marathon

There’s something exciting and compelling about competing abroad and I’ve read and published with varying degrees of envy many race reports from Striders on their travels around the globe. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never done. Our holiday to Club Lasanta was a bit of an impulse but fellow Strider and physio Neil had recommended it so we reckoned it was worth exploring. It was either that or more lunges.

Day one was pretty much wandering around being pleasantly bewildered before I got my head round things. The weekly programme said there was a half-marathon the following morning at quarter to eight. That seemed a bit early. Did I dare give it a go? And, more to the point, and interestingly, why was I so apprehensive? It’s not like I’ve not done a shedload of half-marathons so I was curious about why this particular one should be making me so nervous. I gave myself a bit of talking to and signed up. At a total cost of zero Euros it was about the same price as a parkrun.

I turned up the next morning 10 minutes before the start as requested and was surprised at how jittery I was. George says he’s always nervous before the GNR whereas my usual pre-GNR emotion is abject boredom, so why was I so nervous as I stood in the early morning sunshine, on holiday, with about a dozen or so other runners waiting for the briefing? Funny thing nerves, they all hit us differently.

The half-marathon route is the same one used in the Club La Santa Lanzarote 70.3 IRONMAN and comprises 3 7km loops each including a bit round the running track. This adds the flexibility of allowing runners to opt for 1, 2 or 3 loops depending on how they feel and how far they want to run. Sounds fine but I have to say that quite frankly I found it a bit weird. I intended doing the full half but others that I was following clearly didn’t. What interested me was how disconcerting I found it to be when the runner a few hundred yards in front of me, who I thought I might pull back by the finish, just suddenly wasn’t there any more. Because they’d dropped out at the end of the current loop. There’s a strange subtlety of racing with and chasing runners not knowing whether in their head they’re racing 7, 14, or 21 km. I haven’t thought of this before because I’ve not raced in this situation before, and now that I was, I was finding it well weird.

Just over 2 hours from someone shouting 3-2-1-GO! I crossed the finishing mat and thought that I hadn’t done too badly for someone who hadn’t done a half-marathon for a while, wasn’t used to this temperature at 9AM, and hadn’t had their breakfast yet. But I was still comfortably in last place. Still, looking at the results, I see I was first Strider home, so I’m pretty happy with that.

Southport Half Marathon

I’m spending a lot of time in Southport at the moment visiting family, and we all know what we do when we’re away visiting family don’t we? We check to see if there are any races on! And, what’s this, a half-marathon just 10 minutes walk from my in-laws flat? Well, that certainly comes under ‘serendipity’ in my dictionary.

Southport Half Marathon – 2015

Denise was there too, but she had a special bit, as I discovered when I was facepalmed trying to get into their enclosure. “Are you a Tourist?”, I was asked. My baffled expression was a clear enough answer and I went over to the non-Tourist bits of Victoria Park. I bumped into Denise soon enough though, easily spotting the purple vest amongst the not-very-purply-generally runners. (Penny Lane Striders is near the top of my list of great club names, just below the Troon Tortoises). Denise is currently doing the Tour of Merseyside, 6 races over 7 days. It looks a blast and it’s one to keep an eye on for next year. Fills up quickly though.

So just one weekend after running the Durham Dales Challenge as an impulse purchase, here I was again, on another one. The course was described as fast and flat. We started and I did as I was told. Belting round the first 5 miles, keeping an eye on my watch and having quite a high opinion of myself. Mile 5 to 6 I started reviewing the situation, and on mile 7 I slowed to a jog.

For the next few miles I was a shadow of my former self and around the lake in Southport I later learned that Denise had me in her sights. But I perked up the last mile or two and soon after passing the 12 mile marker found myself back in Victoria Park. A little loop, and there it was, the Finish. Time to give it what’s left! Closer, closer, and, what the hell?! Someone’s having a laugh! I could see the finish, just 100 metres away, but sadly we were separated by a marshall and a metal barrier. Apparently, we still had a lap round the park to do yet! Cruel, Southport, Cruel!

Southport Half Marathon – 2015

I still managed to just squeeze in a sub-2 hour half although I hadn’t expected to literally end the race with a Park Run. Denise wasn’t quite so chuffed with my time, telling me that she almost caught me around the lake, but then ‘you sped up again you little shit’. I glowed with pleasure; it’s always satisfying to pip a clubmate over the line, and even better when they’re a bit miffed about it! Better luck next year Denise!

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