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Transgrancanaria 2016

by kirsty
Tuesday 8th March 2016
 
 
The Transgrancanaria advanced race. 83 kilometres, 4300m of ascent and descent, boulder fields, quite sharp leaves, slippery downhills … but the most traumatic bit was definitely the portaloos at the start. I’m not sure what ratio of runners to toilets is judged ideal but I’m pretty sure it isn’t 2 working toilets for 550 runners. On the plus side, the lengthy toilet queue gave me the opportunity to meet a few fellow Brits doing the race. And once we’d actually made it to the front of the queue it was quite a bonding experience. I feel like I’ve built up a good level of resistance to unpleasant toilets over years of doing races but these were something else. What we saw in there cannot be unseen. I’m not sure how it was even physically possible. We were bonded through trauma - portaloo survivors - and we made our way to the start. 

TGC2016 1

Due to the lengthy toilet queue Dan, Claire, Roger and I started right at the back and we were reassured by the first easy miles that this really wasn’t going to be too bad. The 125k runners, who had started 8 hours before us, started coming through our field early on and we all moved aside on the singletrack to cheer them through. In doing this I managed to fall over while I was actually stationery at the side of the trail, which set the scene for a day with a lot of falling over. 


After about 10k I was feeling quite chipper, I’d done the first bit of climbing, the weather was a bit drizzly and nice and cool. I was running through a village and saw a man with a lovely looking retriever. Missing my dog at home I decided to give the dog a little tickle behind the ears as I passed him. He liked it. He liked it a bit too much. He attached himself to me and started humping my leg. I couldn’t get him to detach himself and it took another runner to help get him off my leg. I was slightly rattled but after the portaloo it seemed like a minor incident. 

TGC2016 3

Gran Canaria is an incredibly beautiful island and you really get to see the best of it on this race. Well, you could once the mist had finally lifted. We passed palm trees, got amazing sea views, negotiated glorious rocky ridges and saw picturesque villages down in the valleys. You really had to remind yourself to look around you regularly, although when you did you ran the risk of tripping over rocks. 
 
Soon I met Mark, a lovely smiley Brit doing the 125k race. Despite having been on his feet for about 40 miles now he was incredibly chipper. Just the sort of person you want to run with. Me, Mark, Dan and Claire ran along for a little bit geeking out about other races we’d done and planned to do. One of the things I love about these sort of events is the people you meet and the ideas they give you about other races.
 

TGC2016 4

The middle section of the race is two very big ascents and descents which started to test the quads a bit and that early feeling that it might not be too bad was pretty much gone. It was going to get quite bad from here on in, and those descents in the last part of the race were really going to hurt. Especially when you fall over. I tend to fall over in these circumstances: looking around me too much (it was Gran Canaria!); tired legs don’t always facilitate good communication between what my brain is trying to tell my feet (my head says Kilian Jornet, my legs say elderly pensioner);  or thinking ‘wow, I’m descending quite well’ (I never am but just thinking this jinxes it). This was probably a mix of all 3. Down I went onto the reddish brown sandy track, landing on my arm and hip and managing to cut my knees too for good measure. As I lifted myself up to assess my injuries I saw a red liquid dripping down onto the path and I tried to work out where I was bleeding from so badly. It took a few seconds to realise that I’d actually managed to burst my soft bottle in the front of my pack and the reddish ground just made the water look like blood. Phew. 
 
While the big downhills of the last section probably sound appealing they were marred a little bit by the big sections of loose rocks. It was dark now and the novelty of your foot moving randomly whenever you put it on the ground and falling over regularly was wearing thin. But the locals were floating over it like it was tarmac. Do they teach this stuff in Spanish schools? 
 

TGC2016 5

Eventually the lights of Maspalomas came into view and the end was in sight. I put in a sprint finish, probably topping a heady 12 mins per mile pace by this point, only to be outsprinted on the line by some dirtbag. At the finish line you had to run up to a small platform to have your photo taken, then I gingerly made my way down, claimed my medal, gilet and free beer and met my husband, who’d been spectating, who said ‘eeuw, I had to use that portaloo at the start’. 

Photos by Pete Aylward (at www.runphoto.co.uk)
 
Results
 
Trans Gran Canaria (125k)
 
Men
1 - Didrik HERMANSEN
2 - Gediminas GRINIUS
3 - Pau CAPELL GIL
 
Women
1 - Caroline CHAVEROT
2 - Andrea HUSER
3 - Uxue FRAILE AZPEITIA
 
Top Brits
 
Andy Symonds (5th)
Kim Collison (20th)
Duncan Oakes (44th and 1st Vet 50)
 
Advanced race (83k)
 
Men
1 - Sebas SANCHEZ SAEZ
2 - David LUTZARDO
3 - Efrén SEGUNDO QUESADA
 
Women
1 - Ajda RADINJA
2 - Yaiza HERRERA SANTANA
3 - Maria Mercedes PILA VIRACOCHA
 
Full results for all races here http://transgrancanaria.livetrail.net
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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