Race Date: Saturday 2nd December 2023
Lanzarote hosts a full marathon, half marathon and 10k on the same Saturday morning with runners setting off at different points around the coastline but finishing at the same place – Costa Teguise.
Earlier in the year, during a period where I wondered if it was time to give up running, due to plenty of niggles and family pressure, a fit of defiance overcame me and I booked the marathon (and a holiday) – probably be the last as Boston, Lincs saw me exhausted and deflated. The decision was to have one big run with no pressure, and hearing that the route is hilly and temperature wise would be hot, I gave in to ‘this is a run for fun and no targets’ – Envisaged walking a great deal and admiring the scenery.
As months passed, my mojo for running started to return and as runners know, targets do get set. Trying to be realistic, I started with a goal of 5hrs, after all I would be walking quite a bit. (4 previous marathons have been sub 4)
Holiday time came and arrangements made to meet up with a fellow Millhouses Tuesday Strider at some point as he was doing the half marathon. Turns out another 3 striders were also running.
Within days of arriving at Lanzarote I noted the temperature didn’t rise until 10.30 ish, and hoped on the day this would also be the case. My two short runs in the days before saw me with heavy legs but wasn’t suffering with the heat, and it didn’t appear to be to hilly. Target setting and strategy planning kicked in. Do I go as fast as I can for the first two hours or take it steady and see what happens? Contradictory I kept repeating to myself, this is a run for fun no pressure there is going to be some walking going on.
The day before the race it poured it down. Like being at home!
Arriving at the start line it was quite cool, overcast and breezy. Actually not bad running weather! My target of 5hrs went through the window and I positioned myself just in front of the 4hr pacer. My pacing was great for the first 9miles, plenty of water stations and confidence grew as the first 10k and last 10k (out and back route) were defined as hilly the rest being ‘undulating’. Did a bit of sight seeing, noted the coast line, passed the port and some of the tiled back streets around Arrecife were quaint.
Needed the loo at this point, not many of these on route and had to queue, restarting I felt that I’d lost the momentum. Kept up the stride as best I could and passed the airport. It was getting warmer at this point and I hoped to get to the turn around point where the half marathoners would join before flagging. Looked out for the Striders but sadly didn’t see them. First half completed and I felt ok.
The second half, was so different. The breeze at times grew into really strong gusts of head/side wind, turning one corner I stumbled sideways due to the wind. The undulating course became difficult due to fighting the wind. Bizarrely you ran into ‘pockets’ of heat, on top of which we had a shower which felt like being hit with needles Thankfully it only lasted a few minutes but pacing became difficult to gauge. Not wanting to over do it I did several times walk for 20/30 metres and it was nice to get to the point where the 10kers were waiting to join, again sadly saw no Striders. Towards the final few miles, the route took you along side a dual carriageway, to drop back down to Santa Teguise. Here the 4hr pacer passed me, shucks.
At the finish line you are duly presented with a medal, and steered into the expo area where there was plenty of food and drink available. It was here that I finally managed to bump into the Striders, yay.
I noted that my time was so much better than I expected (and now I’m cheesed off with myself that I didn’t put in a teeny tiny bit more effort, as I was only 1min and 11 secs out from a sub 4hr marathon!) and checked for age cat times. Brilliant I came first in my age cat.
Had to wait for the presentation but did get a small trophy. Disappointingly I did feel that this was generally unorganised and was lip service only All age cat winners were called out and trophies given. After the photo, it was noted nearly all had been given the incorrect trophy. I got ‘male cat’, the gent at the side of me got a 10k trophy instead of FM so lots of faffing to get the right one. Other than this the actual marathon was well presented, lots of support and plenty of aid stations. And not as hot/hilly as expected.
Can’t say I would do this one again, due to a further incident whereby a scaffolding framework (holding the Lanzarote marathon billboard for pics) was blown over. I, my son, another couple and toddler were missed by inches. I was only not injured due to side stepping to get my phone for a pic. The other runner side stepped as his daughter toddled off. I appreciate accidents do happen, but not one organiser, not one member of staff and not one medic asked if any of us were ok. Staff that did attend decided it was unsafe for the frame to stood back up and consequently was left laying down.
On a positive note – got an email while away – Accepted GFA in London….so I suppose I will be doing another marathon after all
The marathon was won by Manuel Lorenzo Lopez 2.35.59. First female was Sigrun Goldberg in 2.49.09. The half marathon was won by Laurens Verluyten in 1.14.30. First female was Elisa Melilli in 1.24.26. The 10k was won by Jaume Leiva Beato in 32.16. The female winner was Talisa van der Fluit in 42.42.
Full results are published: here