On 23rd January Santa Pola hosted the 30th International Half Marathon (21km), starting from the harbour front on Avda Fernando Perez Ojeda and attracting 7055 entrants (5599 men and 1456 women).
The festivities started on Friday 21st January with the “Runners village” opening in the castle where participants could collect their race numbers, commemorative T shirt, register for other local events and maybe purchase some sports goods.
Live music was provided by Lord Byron and the Ambassadors from 21.00 on the harbour front. Black Night Rock started the Saturday festivities with a live concert at noon, also on the harbour front, followed by Inflatables and a mini marathon for the kiddies at 16.30 and rounded off at 17:30 with music from the Skol Rock Band.
Race day itself saw the runners and spectators arriving early to get a good parking space before congregating around Santa Pola but mainly in the cafes around the Glorieta and the start line. Although it was raining spirits were not dampened. It is always a spectacle to see the many athletics teams from across the Province, resplendent in their club colours, excitedly posing for photographs around the castle, before the reality of the next 21km of running hits home.
This year to comply with local Covid regulations it was mandatory to wear a face mask at the mass start of the race, which, with 7000+ competitors closely packed into a small space, was not unreasonable.
However these could be removed after the first half kilometre but had to be worn again at the finishing enclosure before exiting onto the streets again. At 10:00 race day there was a parachute display team and exhibition over the start line with the parachutists landing on Levante beach.
The race started at 10:30 with 7000 expectant runners heading south out of Santa Pola, only to turn back into the town centre via Playa Lisa before heading to Playa Varadero and La Cadena before heading back into Santa Pola.
Gran Alacant Runners had two participants, Jan, who flew in from Manchester to take part in her first Santa Pola 21k and Rob who lives in Gran Alacant and a veteran of many Santa Pola 21k’s.
The race was won in 59 mins: 33 Secs by Kenyan Felix Kibitok with Pauline Narogoi also from Kenya finishing 16th overall and winning the womens race in 67 mins:
Rob was placed 2978th overall and 2667th in the mens category with Jan finishing 4532nd overall and 815th in the womens category.
As always many congratulations to the runners, organisers, sponsors and spectators for making this a special day, which, despite the rain, was highly enjoyable.
No matter what your ability, If you are visiting the area and want to run with someone, please get in touch.
If you want to join us contact Geoff 0044/ 747 685 1356