When it was announced that the Transgrancanaria course had changed into a north to south island crossing I immediately knew that I have to come back to try out the new route. That is a really logical line and looking at my move now you can see that the track basically divides the Gran Canaria into two parts.But as The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica is just 3 weeks ago and it’s still quite early in the season I abided by the Advanced race which is 83km and 4.500m+ – long enough for me. This year the organization offered 5 different distances: 125km, 83km, 45km, 31km, 17km, a perfect family trip 😉
Between work and relaxing
Flying in three days before was a really good idea and as Gran Canaria is a very popular destination for holidays you get a quite cheap flight there from almost every big city in Europe. This year there were a lot of side events as the “eat and run” book presentation by the vegan ultra runners Scott Juarek, the meeting from the Spain Ultra Cup (as the advanced race is the first stage) and the Ultra Trailrunning World Tour (UTWT) with the long 125km as second race of the tour, TNF shoes testing and a lot more. So for us so called “elite runners” (even if I don’t really feel like this) it was quite busy but the Sheraton hotel in Salobre was just amazing. Puhhhh, very luxury and perfect to relax before the race and to recover after the challenge. And it’s always so nice to meet and chat with my friends from all over the world I usually only meet digital. On morning was also reserved fot the Overstim’s photoshooting together with Jordi Saragossa who is such a great and funny guy!
It just seemed perfect…
As the long race has started exactly at 0:00 in the night between Friday and Saturday in Agaete in the north of the island, the first thing I did when I had to get up at 5:00 was to check the current positions in the internet – too nosy 😉 Luckily our start was at 8:00 in Fontanales but it took us almost 1:30h by car to go there! The startarea at the church was very crowded and the atmosphere full of excitement and energy. Despite the little rain which began 3min before our departure and the cold temperatures (about 5°C) if felt very good, 110% motivated and had seldom light legs. But it should change quickly…
The first 20km I was more or less together with a lot of Spain runners wanting to collect points for the Spain Ultra Cup and following was not so difficult. And in fact I thought I should slow down a little bit as the Spanish usually start too fast and totally get destroyed after a while – but shame on me, it was me who died! I personally find it very difficult to eat the right food and exact quantity during a race and so I am very careful with it. But suddenly something in my stomach changed and it was like someone would have closed it with a zip – maybe it was the cold hitting too strong?!?! “Ok, it’s just a short period and then I get better again!”, I tried to motivate myself but it did even get worse and I couldn’t eat anything. After the impressive rock needle “Roque Nublo”, in Garanon (38km), I felt running out of energy and it was super tough mentally seeing the sign “45km to go”. Getting cramps because of having not enough electrolytes was horrible 🙁
Never give up!
But I kept going, running, hiking, walking, running, racing, walking, running,… and finished somehow. Now I don’t know if that was such a good idea as I am quite destroyed now and will need some more time for recovery but so far I have never given up a race only because a bad feeling. And in the words of Sebastien Chaigneau who had to drop from long race just 12km before the finish because of dehydration: “That’s the game!”.
See here the official website with the full results.