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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Race 3 of 4 Palma de Majorca half marathon

Friday morning and storm Callum was blowing a hooli, but I was packed and ready to head off to the airport that afternoon to take part in race 3 of 4, the Palma de Majorca half marathon. I kept checking the weather forecast and the Ryanair app to see if there was going to be a change in my late afternoon flight departure. The morning flight had managed to get off so I was hopeful.

Michelle arrived at about 2 PM, we loaded up the car and off we went to Bristol airport. We got to the Silver Zone parking, parked the car and went into the office to check the car in but, whilst we were stood in the queue I received a text message from Ryanair saying that due to the storm our flight had been cancelled and they had given us the option of a full refund or re book onto another flight. I went onto the app and tried to get onto the Saturday morning flight, but alas it was full, but I did manage to get us two seats on the evening flight, 24 hours from now. This was going to be a bit of a rush as we probably wouldn't get to our hotel until about 10 PM and we were racing the next morning.

So here also was a couple of other things. A few days earlier I had received an email from our hotel, the Llaut Palace, a 5 star luxury hotel a few miles south of the city centre, which told me that they had over booked and were putting us up in another 5 star hotel, the Pure Salt Garonda until Sunday when we could move back to the Palace. Of course this now meant that due to the flight delay we would be there for one night only.

On Saturday it was still windy but it was slowly decreasing. We arrived at the airport and it was all systems go for us to fly, albeit with a bit of a delay. We arrived at the hotel at around 10:15 PM and enjoyed a welcome drink before heading to bed.

The other problem I had was that in the athletes running info, the half marathon race pack was available for collection on Friday and Saturday but not on Sunday, race day. Only the 10k bibs were available, so I had to email the organisers to explain my situation and hopefully they could make an exception? Fortunately that exception came but I had to be at race number collection no later than 07:30 which meant having to be up at 06:00 to get ready, have breakfast and grab a taxi to the race village. This we did and we were waiting for the village to open along with a few other athletes who had also got bib collection exceptions, and fortunately that all went smoothly and we then only had to bide our time until race time.

The sun was shining and the temperature was rising to about 25 degrees C but it was very humid.
There were athletes from just about every European country you could mention, but especially from Germany. Those running the marathon and half marathon were the first to go at 09:00 sharp, followed by the 10k runners at 09:40.

The atmosphere was incredible as we headed out along the sea front road to the far side of the Port where we turned around and headed back to the starting position and then carried on a little way before heading up into Palma old town, through narrow cobble stoned alleyways and into the new part of town. It was back into the old part again before heading to the finish line.

I do have to tell you about the water stations though.These were totally bizarre and utter chaos! Some stations had large bins with plastic cups, on others a person would hand you a plastic cup, then you had to queue to fill your cup from a tap. WTF!

As for my race? I wasn't looking for a time, I just wanted a comfortable run and to finish on my own two feet. Which was a good job really as I hadn't slept well that night and I felt tired, I was also feeling a bit stressed due to all the flight and hotel stuff, so I was just pleased that I finished in one piece in 02:08 and I wasn't feeling stiff or achy.

I met up with Michelle who had run her second 10k race in 01:10 which I thought was very respectable considering the heat, humidity and our transit/hotel situations. We sat in the glorious sunshine, enjoyed an alcohol free San Miguel and chatted about the race for a while before going to check into the Llaut Palace, grabbing a shower and then enjoy a large Sangria at the pool bar.

My first experience of an overseas race was a good one but would have been better if we hadn't had the flight delay because there was all sorts of race stuff happening on the Saturday which we missed out on. I'll definitely run another overseas race, possibly Valencia or Lanzaroti, maybe next year? We'll see.

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