San Silvestre Races
Each year, Spanish town councils encourage their populations to run by putting on short races around their town centres, which only cost a few euros to enter. This allows runners to race just about every day over the festive period by travelling to nearby towns. Neil and I managed to run the last two of these races, in Altea (the day after arriving in Spain!) and in Pego on New Year's Eve.
At just 4 km, the Altea San Silvestre is possibly the shortest distance I have raced since my schooldays. Starting in the main square after dark, the route dropped down to the harbour before climbing in three sharp hills up to the church. It then went round some back streets before a long straight road to the finish line back in the main square. The race is just a mad thrash, there is no point in trying to pace yourself, the only option is to run as hard as you can then collapse over the finish line. Not my style of running at all! I had Jess's voice in my ear as I attacked the hills ('pockets to sockets', 'head up', 'drive on') and I even managed to win a 'sprint' to the line with a fellow competitor, so all in all I was pleased with my first foray into Spanish racing. The winner, Juan Fernandez Cantos, crossed the line in 12.35. Neil Bowmer finished in 15.08, 37th/272, 5th Veterano B and I came in at a slightly more sedate 19.07, 139/272, 5th Veterana B.