Report by Damian Kelly
Trans Gran Canaria 83km race + 4000mm Of Climbing
Well after a hard winters training Race the morning arrives and we all hope we have put enough mileage in. It is hard to believe that Oliver Ken and myself had signed up for the race back in July.
In bed at 8.30 the night before with the alarm set for 2.30 am, got about 5 hours sleep so happy enough with that. Up we get while the wives and our other mate John are fast asleep from a night out in Playa De Ingles. Being so early I just had a Pretzel and Cliff Bar for breakfast and then a final check on our Kit Requirements. Head Lamp, Rear Light, Rain Jacket, 2.5 Litres of water, Space Blanket, ID, Gels, Salt Tablets (For Cramp) BUFF 2 No and Sun Cream. I know it sounds like I am going camping instead of running.
We get a taxi down to the Finish and hop on the Bus at 4.10am for a 1 ½ hr journey to the Starting Line in the mountains.
We arrived at the Starting Line at 5.45am so that gave us 1hr or so to wait. While we were waiting the runners from the 125KM Race pass by.
Around 6.30am they start to blast out some music and some ACDC and we are on the Highway to hell, a very funny moment as all 600 + runners start to sing at the top of their voices. Horns blasted and off we go at 7.10am as it is just starting to get bright.
The first 30km of the race is on the part of the island that is really green, the weather is cloudy and there is some light rain. The plan was not to go off too fast as I had never run 83km before the furthest being 52KM.
Myself and Oliver ran more or less together for the first 35km. There was 8 Aid Stations on the course serving anything from Pasta, Potatoes, oranges, Meringues, Crisps, Nuts, Bananas, Jelly, sweets, Pepsi, water and Sports Drinks. My plan was to spend less than a couple of minutes at each Station so no Pasta or Spuds for me.
When we got to around 30km the weather and landscape changed and we are into a more Rocky and Wild West Terrain, all the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns were filmed around this location.
Race reporter Damian after 30km
On the last climb to the Half Way Point I was feeling strong and I pushed on.
Campsite Half Way Point.
Quick turn around as I pulled off Oliver arrives in and I gave him a nod but I don’t think he saw me.
If you look at the Profile of the Race the second half should be nearly all downhill, that’s what I thought but I was wrong, straight into a walking climb after the Campsite to the top, then a Downhill Rocky Sections start. We can start to run 5 to 6KM pace but you have to be careful not to trip on a rock.
50km mark trickier descending then bang I clipped a rock and took a fall, lucky enough there was a Spanish runner beside me. I got up brushed myself off said I was grand but with an open gash on my right arm, blood running down my knee and my left hand. He asked me did I want to finish, I said yes, well then my friend take your time and gave me a pain killer and off I went.
When I got to the next Aid Station they wanted to clean me up and I said no as I had a Sub 10 Hour time in my head and I didn’t want to waste any time.
2nd last Aid Station Ayagaures was at a Dam, again a small piece of orange and Banana, refill the Water Bottles then off up the last climb.
Moved up the climb well which was around 2km then another rocky descent, then grand I thought a flat section, but oh no a dried river bed with boulders and rocks and no proper runnable trail. This went on and on around 9km in the end. I hit rock after rock then wacked a boulder let out a f…k and a few more curses, saying there is another toe nail gone. I was then left with 5km which was a mix of tarmacadam and this time a dried out canal.
Race reporter Damian Kelly
I came out of the Canal with 1 1/2km to go on the road and there was our Mate John waiting with the Tricolour which Ken had brought along.
The finish was brilliant 1km loop around the crowd where my wife Carol was in tears, with Karen, Helen and John. I ran up to the finish with the Tri Colour in the air the MC says Irlanda and asks me with the MIC in my face when is St Patrick’s Day. After 83km it took me forever to work out it was the 17th March.
Over the Finish Line got my Medal then I was whisked off to First Aid, which was more painful than the fall. I was cleaned up got a couple of Paper Stitches in the arm and knee and bandaged up by two brilliant nurses who for some reason and me singing Bob Marley “No Women No Pride”. I was moaning about the pain, so that was probably to take my mind of it.
Back out to the Finish to collect my beer, Top and Wrist Band for doing a Sub 12 Hr Race. Delighted with my run 47th overall and 19th in the 40 to 49 age category.
Then over to the girls and John to wait for Oliver and Ken. Oliver arrived in a brilliant time of 11.37 but he didn’t look great after the finish and needed 3 lots of the Drip to bring him back. Well done Oliver Sub 12 and top 100. We then waited for Ken who did brilliant to finish in 15.33 and 343 overall. He looked the freshest out of all of us at the Finish well done Ken.
To sum up would I do it all again next year no but maybe back for the Trans GC 125km in 2018.
I know I am a glutton for punishment, now back to 5 and 10km for a while.