For those who don’t know each year members of the club travel to Lanzarote for a week to take part in the International running challenge which takes place at Club La Santa over four days from November 22nd. As one of the club La Santa newbie’s I was elected to write the report.
Travelling on Friday the 20th this year we had plenty of time to get acclimatised before the first run on Sunday. Club La Santa offers more than 30 sports facilities, which enable you to practice almost any kind of sports. The roads that surround the resort are excellent for runners and cyclists with almost zero traffic and lots of choice of terrain.
With the first race only a few hours away we spent Saturday lounging around the pool, doing a slow 10K loop around La Santa to get familiar with the terrain, the pre race weigh in and then the annual Sportsworld crazy golf competition, which Susan McDonnell won with ease.
Mr Iron man himself Ed McEntee arrived (as an aside as well as racing four times Ed did a mini-tri and duathlon on race days and performed excellently in both) on Saturday evening and over dinner Ed suggested we do 2K on the track each morning at 7am to warm up for the races. At 7 am on Sunday morning the ritual began. Five pale Irish men running laps and strides around the La Santa track before breakfast to get the system going. Ed’s words of advice clearly worked as a great weeks racing was in store.
As there is so much to cover it’s not possible to mention everything that happened in the races. I’ve included my perspective on each race which really comes from number one Club La Santa aka “The boys room”. Not to be confused with Jedward’s room which was on the other side of the complex The overall results are listed as well.
Race 1 – Lanzarote Classic-10K Road Race
Starting at the Stadium we ran on asphalt roads toward the villages of La Santa and then across to Caleta de Caballo (2 loops race course). The men’s team going by POC, PD, TS and MC were especially confident going into the race. The Danish runners always perform well in the International Running Challenge but nothing prepared us for the push Jeppe Farsøht made from the start line. Five metres ahead on the first bend of the track. Jeppe continued to stretch out an impressive lead. In 28 degree heat 10K on a reasonably challenging course it was always going to be tough but everyone ran well. As this is a separate event a medal is awarded after the race.
Race 2 – 13K Ridge Run
Starting at the Stadium the runners do a bit on the road and then veer off onto both dirt trails and asphalt roads around one of the big volcanoes near to Club La Santa. The race then finished back on the track. For me this was the most challenging of the races and my only disappointing race of the week. Making a rookie mistake I was passed by MC about half way around then by TS about five minutes later. MC ran an incredible race that left TS comparing him to a mountain goat at the finish line. Personally I think it’s all the ice cream he ateover the course of the week, but that’s just my two cents.
Race 3 – 5K Beach Race
This was the one I was dreading. I’m not at all light on my feet and only really get going on the flat. I hate cross country always struggling to keep good posture and not fall on my ass. The thoughts of struggling in the sand sent me to bed early on Monday night as PD and TS danced the night away with the green team girls in the night club.
For the 5K race buses take the participants on a half hour ride to the beach in Puerto del Carmen, where the races takes place on soft sand. Well that was the plan at least until POC leading the race on the first of two laps decides he doesn’t want to run on the soft sand and decides to run on the shoreline. Of course runners are like lemmings so everyone follows. The race marshal’s flag go up but it’s too late as nobody pays any attention until after the race that the runners were being called back.
To my surprise I faired allot better on the sand than expected and managed to stay the course. In hindsight sand is easier to run on than mud. I really enjoyed the beach race and felt I could have pushed on a bit more after the race.
Race 4 – 21K La vuelta de Tinajo
The last race starts a short bus ride from La Santa at Los Dolores Church in Mancha Blanca and will take the runners around the volcanic Montaña de Tinajo (1 loop) through Tinajo and back to Club La Santa on both asphalt and dirt tracks.
Credit has to be given to PD for his tough performance in this race. Earlier in the week I asked PD why he went out so quickly. The response could only have come from Paul, he said “I wanted to see what it’s like to be first”. As the rest of us are settling in for a long half marathon in thirty degree heat PD decides to see what it’s like to be first again. Flying off at the start PD has a time to make up on his age category rival and nobody was getting in his way.
The best moment was when we got to a hill that looked more like a loop in a rollercoaster than a road in Lanzarote. The steepest hill I’ve ever seen had myself and TS slow down to a crawl, look at each other and start laughing. I later learned that two minute ahead POC had cursed at PD, thrown his hat on the ground and decided to walk up the hill. After nine kilometres the race is a mostly flat ride back to La Santa.
The half marathon was my favourite race. I enjoyed everything about it. I ran most of it with TS up until around 17K when TS had too much and pushed ahead. The support all week was amazing, especially on the half marathon were we had about 10 supporters out on bikes ready with water, gels and encouragement.
The race week finishes with 300m of the track in the Stadium before receiving your International Running Challenge medal. I got to the finish after really struggling for a few kilometres to see PD sitting with a big grin on his race. PD ran an incredible 73 minutes, beating Sport
sworld’s current number one in the process. After all the lads had finished we did our daily cool down which was back out on the course to support the rest of the club home.
This year the competition was tough but well down to our two winners PD and POC. Both picked up age category awards. POC also picked up a 3rd place award in one of the races at the race awards on Wednesday night.
The Danes were the big winners of the 21st International Running challenge, with Jeppe Farsøht taking the men’s overall titles in the 10k, 13k, 5k and 21k. Marie-Louise Brasen, also from Denmark was the female winner. I introduced myself on the last night and promised we would have our secret weapon Lucy Darcy back next year to annihilate her. The pair won the Vuelta de Tinajo (21k), the Ridge Run (13k) and Clásica de Lanzarote (10k). In fact it was a clean-sweep for Marie who also won the 5k Beach Run.
Wednesday night saw everyone in the disco. The night was spent dancing and partying until the wee hours in the night club followed by a sobering cycle to the beach on Thursday. Thursday evening was spent in Restaurant Amura in Puerto Calero – one of the island’s Michelin Guide Listed and most luxurious restaurants. Then it was on to the night club for more fun and games. POC minus his luminous yellow hat from the night before tried to lead the YMCA out but couldn’t match the style of the Danish girls in the club (video to follow). A quieter night than Wednesday finished with me and TS being escorted to our room by security at 4AM for violating the noise laws in the hotel.
The race organisation and value for money is fantastic with drinks, food and a great atmosphere after each race. Being in a sub-tropical climate, the pace on Lanzarote matches the climate. It’s an ideal place to relax and soak up the sun on golden beaches, or by the pool even for those not running. La Santa was a great experience that offers something for everyone. When can I go back?
The overall results for those that took part in the races are listed below. Full results are online. If I missed anyone apologies please let someone know and it can be edited. Photos in the gallery with more to come.
21 19 Bernie White 40-44 IRL 00:48:37 01:02:03 00:26:04 01:47:05 04:03:48
22 184 Irene O’Connor 40-44 IRL 00:48:38 01:04:12 00:28:10 01:43:58 04:04:57
27 168 Tara Murphy 40-44 IRL 00:49:05 01:05:41 00:28:53 01:47:57 04:11:33
30 170 Breda Browne 45-49 IRL 00:50:18 01:08:44 00:26:52 01:51:10 04:17:03
17 203 Susan McDonnell 25-29 IRL 00:22:52 00:23:34 00:46:26
23 325 Helen Dixon 35-39 IRL 01:03:12
11 203 Susan McDonnell 25-29 IRL 00:25:46
25 325 Helen Dixon 35-39 IRL 00:27:12
52 208 Amy Fitzgerald 25-29 IRL 00:31:28
31 325 Helen Dixon 35-39 IRL 01:47:51
5 205 Paul O’Connell 30-34 IRL 00:33:28 00:44:54 00:19:03 01:14:09 02:51:33
11 183 Paul Duffy 25-29 IRL 00:35:13 00:46:23 00:19:40 01:13:27 02:54:42
14 282 Trevor Sweeney 35-39 IRL 00:36:03 00:48:25 00:20:01 01:16:25 03:00:52
16 178 Gareth Murran 25-29 IRL 00:35:48 00:49:08 00:20:21 01:17:56 03:03:10
19 180 Michael Cunningham 30-34 IRL 00:36:18 00:47:52 00:20:27 01:19:44 03:04:19
29 284 Edward Mc Entee 40-44 IRL 00:37:26 00:49:27 00:21:52 01:23:12 03:11:55
35 262 Declan Horgan 40-44 IRL 00:40:50 00:52:54 00:22:27 01:25:13 03:21:23
76 227 Killian McMorrow 50-54 IRL 00:46:18 01:00:25 00:25:29 01:38:57 03:51:08