The race took 9hrs 41mins and I came 11th. In hindsight I am pleased but I am left with a few nagging questions. I (a runner from a the flat lands of South England) took on the a race (technical and at altitude) against the best mountain runners in the world and survived but I wanted to do more than that, to be honest my pride is a little dented .
My training went well but it wasn’t in the mountains. I sought out some hilly places to run
I could not go off with the pace of the lead women but then when I saw Anna (Cometi Pascua) and Uxue (Fraile) appear from behind me 2hrs later I thought maybe my start was not too bad. I climbed and climbed and climbed. Much of this was walking and I’m a runner not a walker so this was not great for me. Course knowledge would have been good here because then I would have known when to push and when to have expected a hill but I was not fazed at all as I knew it would be a long day for me anyway. The course was in the dark initially up soft black sand but as the sun came up the course wound around alpine trees.
The first aid station was at El Pilar and it meant I could drop off the head torch. The trail was good leaving the checkpoint and I felt as though I could finally run but I wasn’t sure how hard I should push on. We soon climbed again (total climbing in the race was 4000m) through the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente and emerged above the cloud and I could see it lying in the valley below. Truly breathtaking.
I stuck with Anna and Uxue for 2hours but then they ultimately got the better of me and were stronger on the ascents. The next aid station was Pico de La Nieve and once I had left there I ran the rest of the race on my own.
Jon met me at Roque de Los Muchachos which sat at 2426m and just under 52km before the final descent.
My descending was abysmal. There can be no doubt about that. I tried to just let my pace and legs go but I was too cautious for this to be significant. I fell over twice showing my lack of experience on the rocky descents.
The final descent was down the Vertical KM course and I could see Tazacorte Port at the bottom. I knew we still had to run up to Los Llanos de Aridane though so despite it feeling like a finish line I knew it wasn’t which definitely helped as I ran through the cheering crowds.
I was embarrassed as I ran through Tazacorte and was met by the Scott Running team- “I’m so sorry I’m running so slowly…..I’ve let you down….. It was too technical for me….I’m so sorry….”
So that was it really I trained well, I felt good racing in terms of nutrition, endurance, muscle fatigue but I could not go any faster. It wasn’t quite the result I had hoped for, however, I got to share a week with new friends in a new place and had an amazing day out running through spectacular countryside.