III Carrera Nocturna (Carrera de la Luz), Santa Pola (Against Cancer) 10km Run

as experienced by Geoff Young

Saturday 19th October at 8.00pm saw the start of the 3rd run in support of the Cancer Charity.

Over 470 competitors of all ages took to the streets of Santa Pola to participate in this 10km run which was, as always, a well hosted event. On the start line I talked to a 71 year old French man, and once the run started a large number of youths passed me as they raced towards the finish line.

We were treated to a fireworks display on the Avenida Granada in Santa Pola, where the run started and finished outside of the St Jaimes Bar, from where music played out into the night air. The residents of Santa Pola came out to support the runners offering encouragement along the way, and every so often, volunteers lined the course with lighted torches (Carrara de la Luz).

My preparation for the run was erratic, but I knew I could complete the course in around an hour, meaning I had to run at 10 minutes a mile pace. It’s always the same in an organised event, you get carried away by the pace of those around you and as we ran passed the Santa Pola Football stadium I knew I was running too fast.

To my amazement, I went through the first mile in 8 minutes and 28 seconds. “Too fast Geoff, Slow down, you can’t sustain this pace, you will suffer for it later”. As we came back towards the Port along Playa Lisa the temperature was showing 23 Deg C. I had now gone through 3 miles at sub 8 minutes 30 pace for each mile and I was seriously over heating. Fortunately there was a drinks station as we came back to the port where I poured a bottle of water over my head to bring my temperature down. And this is where the mind games started. How could I possibly maintain this pace, but with such a low number of competitors, was there a chance I could finish in a podium position for my age group (Daft old sod!!!!). Taking the water on board had disrupted my rhythm and I had slowed down. “Don’t think of your pounding heart and gasping lungs, concentrate on your leg speed and the heart and lungs will look after themselves”. This is where I saw competitor 165, Canales Bautista, who was in front of me and looked like he would be in my age category. If I let him stay in front of me he was going to take my podium position. “Concentrate on your leg speed, not too fast, reel him in slowly” until, eventually I passed him. Now I had to put some distance between me and him to make sure he didn’t come back at me. “Concentrate on the leg speed”. “But your lungs hurt”. “Shut up and concentrate on the leg speed”. So on I went to finish in 53 minutes and 35 seconds. Every competitor wears a chip which records their progress throughout the run. At the finish it is a simple task for the organisers to print out the results where they are posted on a board which attracts a throng of competitors eager to learn of their individual performance and position. I joined the rugby scrum to see which of the three podium positions I might have earned. 12th in my category and 253rd overall. I was wrecked. All that effort for what? In fairness, the three podium positions in my category finished in 43 minutes, a time I would have struggled to achieve in my 40’s. As I didn’t have to wait around I dragged my weary body home for a well earned rest and reflected on an evening well spent.

And so begins the preparation for the half marathon in Santa Pola on 19 January. If you are thinking of taking part why not contact me through The GA Advertiser. It would be good to have a GA team taking part.

For the record, The winner was Caudill Dalton in 33minutes 42 seconds. The first female was Fuencisla Juan Mas in 42 minutes and 16 seconds.

  • Forthcoming Events:
    17th November Gandia: Half Marathon
    and 10km
  • 19th January Santa Pola: Half Marathon
  • 2nd February 2020 Murcia: Marathon,
    Half Marathon and 10km
  • 9th February 2020 Orihuela: Half Marathon and 8km

For a full listing check www.chiplevante.com