A small group of just 11 headed to Club La Santa last week for the annual international running challenge. We had 2 lovely apartments in the new part of the complex. With 3 of the lads injured or sick we had just 3 lads and 4 girls running all 4 races.
For anyone that hasn’t heard of it. La Santa is a small village near Tinajo in North Eastern Lanzarote. Club La Santa is a top class sports holiday location sitting high on the hill above the town. It caters for every summer sport imaginable.
Each year 300-400 club runners from Ireland, Denmark and the UK compete over 4 days in 4 races. It’s a tough challenge that will make or break your winter training block.
Day 1 started with 10k on the road.This area of Lanzarote is windy beyond belief. Even with a relatively straight course this year the tough mind made conditions a struggle. The new course went out to the village if La santa and back a couple of times. At home this course would seem easy but the hard surfaces and win adds significantly to the difficulty.
The lads team of Paul Fleming, Kevin Curran and Jim Browne ran very well against some very tough Danes and Tom Hogan from SBR in Ireland. Our girls ran together at first but then spaced out more as the race progressed. Between them Ruth, Shóna, Anna and Maura had very little training done but they held their own against strong Crusaders and UK teams.After day 1 it was clear that the depth of quality was up this year despite some lower race entry numbers.
Day 2 was the 13k ridge run. The Sportsworld supporters headed out in our rented car to drive up the ridge and catch the runners going up and coming down.
Maura after flogging herself half to death on day 1 took it a little easier on day 2. By the time she passed us on the way down she was still smiling. The wind was a killer on the ridge. The course was 700m too long. It all added up to the runners being blown back up the hill rather than being able to lean in and power down it.
Kevin who has been running fantastic all autumn was bounding down the hill and looking fantastic doing it. His smooth stride brining him home well ahead of his rivals. All that work paying off
A nice thing about the races is that you have all levels of races within races,national pride, age group awards and team rivalries. Jim and Ruth were in each others sights all week. On the ridge it was no different, with Ruth pipping Jim on this ocassion . After the race our girls team looked comfortable in 3rd place.
The only thing fast on day 3 was the fashion on the streets of Carmen. You arrive at the beach each year hoping for some hard and compact ground under foot. This year disappointed. The pace was fierce and the beach was almost all puffy soft sand. As the 2nd of two laps came around you could see the heads dropping and race pace slowing. Paul as always had a blinder, he knows how to run that race. Jim also had a fantastic race as did Shóna.
Day 4 is the morning of the half marathon . The 3 lads. Gareth , Michael and Wesley went out on mountain bikes to support, give out some water and gels. Emily at the last kilometer to shout the last words of encouragement.
The runners arrived at the start to hear that the course was slightly changing. It was all a bit confusing with most people expecting a second trip up Lanzarotes own version of heartbreak hill. This didn’t happen in the end with the runners doing just 1.5 laps around Manc Blanca. The diversion was difficult because of the strong winds which again were slowing down the runners.
The nice thing about supporting the half is that you can see the runners in a few spots. I think its appreciated by everyone running. With lots of Irish clubs now taking part the support is like a home race.
By the time the runners had La Santa in their sites, everyone from Sportsworld was still looking strong. Like the ridge run you couldn’t really compare the times with previous years as conditions and courses did vary. This both mixes it up and can be a little frustrating.The running part of the week ended with the annual awards, as introduced by Kenneth a Club La Santa tradition.
Well done to everyone that ran. Jim was under pressure from day 1 with Gareth, Wesley or Michael not able to run. He ran himself really hard each day and was a great addition to the men’s team. Maura was on the comeback trail in a get fit for La Santa pact with Shóna. Ruth, Paul and Kevin all won race awards and some age group prizes.
Congrats to the Crusaders team that won the women’s team event with Orla Drum taking 1st girl. The mens was won by the Danes yet again with Tom Hogan from SBR taking first in the men’s by 4 seconds over 4 races. Impressive running throughout from Tom and Orla. Wednesday night ended with plenty of fun, a few sore heads, lots of bad dancing, new friends and stories over a few glasses of Lanzarotes finest wines. It was late very late.
For anyone thinking of going I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a great way to get to know people in the club better. The food in La Santa village is fantastic and 24 degree days in late November is hard to come by in Dublin. All of this is before I even get to the trips to the beach, long bike rides chasing Shona and picturesque scenery. If your the adventurous type you can try sports like windsurfing or aerial yoga for free every day
Full results below and on the club La Santa site. No doubt we will be back with greater numbers next year and be even more determined to get 2 teams on the podium.
Special thanks to Emily for organising the trip. Everyone had a great week. She does an amazing job each year getting the trip planned and the keeping the group together during the week. A few photos below with lots more on Facebook.
7 158 RUTH KELLY 40-44 IRL 00:42:51 01:00:59 00:23:25 01:30:15 03:37:30
8 153 SHONA KEANE 30-34 IRL 00:42:58 01:03:06 00:24:08 01:30:53 03:41:03
18 112 ANNA DELANEY 40-44 IRL 00:46:46 01:07:45 00:26:05 01:41:32 04:02:06
24 159 MAURA GINTY 35-39 IRL 00:47:51 01:08:14 00:26:54 01:47:36 04:10:33
6 4 PAUL FLEMING 40-44 IRL 00:35:05 00:50:34 00:19:15 01:15:36 03:00:28
9 174 KEVIN CURRAN 30-34 IRL 00:36:48 00:51:48 00:21:08 01:18:10 03:07:52
47 162 JIM BROWNE 50-54 IRL 00:42:20 01:02:27 00:22:53 01:37:24 03:45:02