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Top marks for the inaugural TransMallorcaRun

by kirsty
Thursday 27th November 2014

Race report: Kirsty read reports from the inaugural K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

When the opportunity arose to do a multi-day event in Majorca in November my thought process went something like this: ‘hmm, swap grey rainy England for sunny Majorca and run on some beautiful trails and spend some time by the sea? Yes please!’. I was all in. I got mildly concerned when I looked at the detail – three marathons in two days, then a 20k – oh I’m sure that’ll be fine.  I got a little more concerned when I got the list of suggested kit – sleeping bag? – and alarms bells really started to ring when I heard stories of the organiser’s test event in 2012 where competitors covered 440km round the whole island. However, it turned out that there was no need to worry. TransMallorcaRun turned out to be the most friendly, laid-back and beautiful event on the planet.

The organisers already run several successful events in Majorca and this new event was designed to showcase different areas of this spectacular island. This was the first year of the event so they kept it fairly small and on the Thursday night most of us were sitting in a conference room in a hotel in Palma learning what we’d be doing for the next few days (running, pretty much).

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

There were four stages to TransMallorcaRun in four different places. Each stage had two different distance options: 42k and 21k for the first three (though in practice these turned out to be anywhere between 40 and 50k and 20 and 30k) and an 18k or 8k on the final stage. Runners could do just one of the runs or they could do one run for each stage. If you think this is complicated to understand just imagine how complicated it must have been to organise it. But I can honestly say that the organisation was the best of any race I’ve ever done. Coaches took us to the start each day, then back to our hotels at the end of the day, chip timing gave live results, aid stations had plentiful supplies of water, coke and food, and the routes were marked really well. In addition to all of this it was touches like laying on a free physio for all and organising showers and even towels for the runners at the finish of a stage which made this race something really special.

The runners were a mix of elites, media and everyday runners.  There was a definite sharp end to this race, with runners like Miguel and Roberto Heras, David Lopez Castan, Scotland’s Casey Morgan, Silvia Trigueros Garrote and Xari Adrian Caro showing us all how it’s done. It was a big thrill to be toeing the line in a small race with runners of this calibre. The fact that the organisers were able to secure such big names suggests that this race is going to grow and grow and become a big feature of the European race calendar.

Day one, stage one had an early start and we were transported out to the incredibly beautiful  setting of Lluc at the north of the island. The start was at the Lluc Sanctuary, which dates back to the 13th century. The rooms (or cells), that were originally available for visiting pilgrims, are still there for walkers, cyclists and trail runners to stay in. If there was one word to describe this place it is tranquil, though perhaps not at the start when Queen, the de facto soundtrack for race starts, was playing over the speaker system. In keeping with the surroundings it was a very relaxed start and soon we were off on a long climb on a woodland trail.

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

Photos (clockwise from top left): Lluc Sanctuary. Kirsty on the first climb. Organiser Toni Contesti

The first thing I noticed about running in Majorca is that the trails are very technical. All the trails there are rock with reddish earth. This is fine going uphill but you have to keep your wits about you on the downhills (that was the second thing I noticed – it’s very hilly). I discovered this to my cost early on when I tripped and did something to my quad and it was also very hard on the feet (I’ll refrain from putting a photo of my blisters in this report).

Hobbling from early on I decided that the sensible thing to do was to do the shorter distance. The route was an out and back with a mix of woodland and mountain trails, the weather was glorious and the views were incredible. And this was only day one!

At the finish at Lluc the organisers had laid on showers, towels, even some beds for those who wanted to rest ahead of the night stage. The team of organisers could not have been friendlier or more willing to help you. And the Sanctuary at Lluc, with its peacefulness, botanical gardens and choir school who sing Gregorian chant for the villagers every morning and evening, could not have been a more relaxing place to spend a few hours post-run. I had a definite feeling that I’d left real life a very long way behind and I was really looking forward to what the next few days had in store.

Unfortunately that evening I had to give stage two a miss because of my quad. The race was to start from Sa Rapita, down on the very beautiful (I’m told) beaches of the south coast at 11pm. This was a flat stage and the winning times were very fast. I’m sorry that I missed this stage but I was very glad of the sleep.

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

Photos: Day 2 - Calvi

Mid-morning on day two we were picked up and taken to another place so wonderful that it all seemed like a bit of a dream – Calvia, to the west of Palma. Stage three was the one I was really looking forward to as it promised a run around a mountain (in the Serra de Tramuntana range, which has UNESCO World Heritage status) and I really like that sort of thing. It didn’t disappoint. We set off from the country house (the finca Galatzo) and it wasn’t even really that uphill for a little while. But then it was. There was a fantastic climb and the higher you got, the more you could see of this breath-taking area. There was a bit of swearing on a boulder field across the top but some long, sweeping (and very runnable) downhills more than made up for it. It was as close to running heaven as you can get.

I was almost sorry for this stage to end but there was a glorious bit of flat which took us back down to the country house, food, fresh clothes and some more rest and recuperation in tranquil surroundings.

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

Photos: Some laid-back Mallorcan residents

Not only were our fellow runners incredibly friendly in this race, but we also enjoyed some laid-back Mallorcan hospitality from all manner of animals. You could often hear a hint of cowbell, which just makes any race complete for me. But it wasn’t always cows, there were also bells on sheep and even donkeys. There were a lot of almost over-friendly cats and just check out this relaxed rabbit. I think he sums up the vibe of this run and of Majorca.

I was sad for the final stage to come but my quad was telling me I was already pushing my luck so it was just going to be a case of hobbling round the final day. We were picked up and taken to a castle – Castillo de Bellver – just outside of Palma centre. With the castle on one side of you and the sea on the other, it was a perfect place to finish this race. And this stage, we were promised, was completely flat! I would debate this, considering my Garmin (and legs) recorded 720m of ascent! But it was a fantastic end to the race, particularly as there were a lot more runners who were doing this as a single stage run, and there were even super cute kids races round the castle grounds. TransMallorcaRun really laid on a fun day of running for all abilities.

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

Photos: The 'flat' stage 4

Returning to the airport I felt more like I’d had a month’s holiday, than just spent a long weekend running. Majorca is a dream for trail running and it was just so peaceful and relaxed. The organisers, Toni Contesti and his team, just personify enthusiasm and friendliness and they laid on a perfect event. If you’re looking for a break with some winter sun and testing running in breath-taking surroundings then I highly recommend that you check out TransMallorcaRun for 2015. I guarantee it’ll make you feel as laid-back and content as that rabbit.

K42 TransMallorcaRun - 3 days, 4 races k42 - November 21-23, 2014

Photos: The children's races

Find out more at: k42transmallorcarun.com/en/


About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 


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