Over the vulcano
Marzoll → Salzburg → Frankfurt → S. C. de La Palma → Puerto Naos
Virtually this travel plan doesn’t look too bad, but it takes quite long time as the number of direct flights to La Palma on the Canary islands are very rare. But on the other hand that is also an advantage because it’s not very crowded from big senior tourists occupying the beaches or loud drunken youth having parties 24hours. My heavy legs, the “gourmet-menu” on the plane and the sleepy hanging around went away extremely quickly getting the keys for a small jeep with sun-blind from my German countrymen of the La Palma24 car rental organization. Thanks a lot for their caring cooperativeness and all the insider-tipps (after 20 years it’s quite a lot!). Dashing with (almost) cabriolet-feeling we went once across the island to the hotel (arrrgh, why are there so many 50 km/h signs!)
Mare e monti
Easily to recognize from their aggressiveness (of the shoes of course 😉 and the uniform-like dressing from a lot of hobby-runnning-clubs I checked in with a lot of “corredores” from all over the world: What a nice surprise as my French Salomon team colleague – probably the fastest wine-grower in the world – Francois d’Haene gave me our room key in the elevator and tried to convinced me for an “easy run” to recover from the flight. Luckily I had practiced the fast changing for the skimountaineering races a lot in winter and so in 2 min I was ready to go up to the islands peaks. It’s very fascinating to be on perfect trails smoothing along extinct volcanoes a few minutes after having left the beach. Ok, it was not slow but therefore the awesome dinning buffet back in the hotel was dangerous (you know why!) – even Anton Krupicka respected the rules to wear long trousers; hahah 😉 Meeting all the well-known faces of the utrarunning community in real (and not only “digital” via the social media), listening to the adventures of Kilian, Joe Grant or Adam Campell or talking about the upcoming season is always a great time.
Could be worse – for sure
The last two days before the race flew away despite reduced training and almost no obligations: sleeping, eating, running, eating, relaxing on the pool and the beach (I don’t want to make someone jealous but I am pretty sure that 20°C were not enough), having interviews, taking pictures, getting the material ready (it’s all about making it as lightweight as possible), talking and (of course) eating again 🙂 Visiting one of the local banana factories was definitely one of the highlights. Bananas, oh excuse PLATANOS, are the most exported product on La Palma and without a doubt they can concurrent with the Southamerican ones. As the island cooperative is not only main sponsor for the brilliant filled food stations during the race, this was more a promotional effort with elite runners than a informational event and basically an acknowledgement for the support. I guess that during our 50m way through the factory 500 pictures were shot and 200min of videos produced…
Sport of the nation?
I am pretty sure that Transvulcania is the biggest event on “la isla bonita” and therefore even two weeks before it’s state of emergency everywhere! Almost on every corner you can see posters and monumental size pirctures from the two times winner Miguel Heras. There is no hotel you won’t find a couple of runners. Wearing a Speedcross or your clothes allowing the smallest hint, you will be asked about the ultramarathon – the true excitement of the Spanish residents and the energetic atmosphere can be felt and pushes motivation much more. Too bad that I didn’t win, otherwise I could have spent at least one year on the island for free only living from gifts and invitations 😉
It’s going on
Saturday morning at 4 a.m. (what a mean time!) we drove in long car queue to the start at the lighthouse Fuencaliente in the very south. As further the time was counted down in red numbers on a huge watch on the beach as higher was my excitement and heart rate. The atmosphere is unbelievable, in the sea of lights of 1600 headlamps, no less than the same amount of spectators, flying flashing film drones and would-wide known rocksongs you can really feel the energy ready to run. On the dot at 6.00 a.m. (German time!) the shoot was given and all the athletes started into the days adventure…
…I had to jump into the bushes two times before the start and this continued another 5 times during the race. In the run up of the competition there was apparently a “flu” going around in the hotel ans I was not the only one with stomach problems, apparently and vomiting. Too bad as my legs felt quite good and I was motivated more than 120%… This is why I didn’t reached my own goal to stay below the 8-hour-mark and finish in the top 10 (or better???). Except for Thomas Bohne my German team members had also quite a lot of problems: After Thomas Wagner helped a Canadian runners who had collapsed and brought him to the next aid station, he became a victim of the heat himself.
Here you can find the official results.
How my watch has experienced this move can you see in Movescount.