We’re not sure how he does it, but somehow Murdo Macleod has, once again, managed to find a race to run while on holiday. This time around the destination was Tenerife and the first running of the Tenerife Marathon. Our intrepid globe trotter joined quite a small field to complete the two lap course in temperatures approaching 30° C. Well done Murdo!
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Murdo said: “On holiday for a week in Tenerife and coincidently the first running of the Tenerife marathon was on. Well, why not?
This was part of a programme of runs all on the same day, full marathon, half marathon and 8km races. Weather was excellent compared with an Edinburgh November. Most days it was 20-23 degrees C, sometimes cloudy and a couple of showers over the week but, however, on race day it was clear and hot, damn hot.
Tenerife is basically a large Atlantic volcano island rising to be Spain’s highest peak at around 3,700 metres. We were staying, and the race was in, Santa Cruz, the island capital, which is a hilly wee place.
The route was twice round a half marathon course which itself was made up of a hilly 5 mile run round the town followed by an out-and-back 8 mile run along the coast. The city bit was, apart from the hills, scenic and surprisingly well supported and marshalled (looked as if every policeman on the island was there). The coastal bit was however a drag on the main road out and back past the commercial docks and industrial units. Absolutely no shade whatsoever with a hot breeze at times.
Website was good, entry easy (English version available), well informed pre-race emails plus an App to let friends follow you (updated every 5km or so). Registration was the day before in a city centre hall; well organised and a couple of stalls for clothes, supplements, sponsors etc. good friendly atmosphere. Your race number was colour coded for your event with a number for one of three starting groups depending on your predicted time. Both the half and full marathon started at 0930 (the half only doing one loop) with the 8 km starting at 1100. An email with your time and splits was issued immediately you finished and this was followed by a full breakdown of times and placing later in the day – very impressive. The goody bag was meagre with a nice orange t-shirt and a few small leaflets, gels etc. Medal at finish which was ok. There was chicken and rice available in tents out off the sun on completion along with fruit and water. There was also free massages but the area was stiflingly hot even though outside.
There were about 1,200 in the half and about 400 had signed on for the marathon although the finishing stats say that only 286 finished. I heard that about 55 didn’t finish the marathon and 34 for the half (maybe due to the heat)
As mentioned, it was ominously warm as I made my way down to the start area. The corrals never materialised but given the relatively small numbers, it didn’t make any difference. Lovely friendly relaxed atmosphere. Flamenco dancers and a drum band to start then off. The route was hillier than I thought, my Garmin says overall 469m for the race but that was squashed into the twice time 5 mile section through the town. Was going to wear my ERN vest but given the heat wore the race t-shirt which in retrospect was a good call or I’d have been well burnt. Water supplied every 5k or so. As I was at the back, and as there were so few in the marathon, a couple of stations were near to running out of water. Never got there but damn close (scraping water together). Not sure about the folks behind me as the results suggest a third of the marathoners were behind me although it didn’t look like it.
As with most races in Spain, Italy, it was predominantly male (only 11 females finished the marathon) and most looked like seasoned runners. Quite a lot running in club (or similar) groups as well. Fruit (oranges, banana segments) and energy drinks available at the stops for the second loop round the course.
Personally, I had a hard time of it and got a PW. I’d been suffering from headaches and ear problems before and after the race and the heat got to me as well I think despite wearing a hat all the way round. Nothing to do but take it easy but completely knacked at the end. I think it got to 26-28 degrees at times so a tad warm!
However, shouldn’t distract from what was a good event particularly given its first running. Potential issues with water, think they got caught out by the heat as well, very friendly and well organised. Feedback request issued a few days later. The event is limited by the local topography; Santa Cruz is a hilly place and to make up the distance you have to run out and back along the coast. While not the most scenic, the alternative was a petro chemical plant area if you went the other way. If you’re in town and fancy it, give it a go but be aware it is more challenging than you may imagine and the weather can be variable.”