SAC races in Spain – 2 April 2017

April09/ 2017

flagThe foreign branch of Steyning AC hit Spain again at the beginning of April to take part in the Elche Half Marathon. Elche is a beautiful town close to Alicante that is filled with shady groves of palm trees, and is also only a bus ride away from the seaside town of Santa Pola. You may remember that we visited Santa Pola in January to take part in their half marathon (in cold and damp conditions). In total contrast, last weekend was absolutely gorgeous, with air temperatures in the high teens, blue skies and sunshine, light winds and a lovely course for the race. Joan, Jon and Lydia all raced and were well supported by Dave, Lydia’s partner. We stayed a few days in Santa Pola with Lydia’s extended family and had a truly splendid time exploring the local area, walking in the nature reserve, eating good food, grabbing bargains in the market, paddling in the Med and of course running the half marathon. What a great way to have a weekend break.

Before the start.

There were 2337 runners (1898 men and 439 women) and we appeared to be the only non-Spanish entrants. It was a really well organised event, with closed roads, a one-lap wiggly course through the town, good support along the route and cheap entry cost (€18 each). For that we got a race T-shirt, a small gym bag, and free Radler beer after the event, as well as fruit and soft drinks.

Tired – but happy.

And what of the race itself? Well, we all finished, had a good time, and Joan managed to win her age group (F60-64). This resulted in a rather large trophy, composed mainly of rock, which had to be brought home on the plane as hand luggage. Times for our runners were: Joan 1 hr 39 16s (20<sup>th</sup> woman overall), Jon 1 hr 52m 26s, and Lydia 1 hr 59m 47s. The course was mainly flat apart from a rather long uphill drag on an exposed section of the course which took us up to a bridge over a dry river bed. This was followed by a lovely long gentle downhill back into town. Many of the roads were lined with palm trees, water was available every 5K and all in all it was a lovely choice for a half marathon. Elche is a town worth returning to and if we go back to Santa Pola next January to do the half marathon there again (it’s bigger than the Elche Half and has a MUCH better goody bag!!), we might do a day trip to Elche to explore the town properly.

That’s a heavy lump to carry home!

Half Marathons in Spain are great value for money, and I think we may be back for more………


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