Midnight as 23rd October becomes the 24th, and as the young set out for the discos of Playa de las Americas, and other holidaymakers head to bed; people will gather on Las Vistas Beach, Los Cristianos.
As party-goers fall into bed, and sun-worshippers rise, this group will be passing the Parador in Teide National Park, having passed through the sleeping villages of Arona and Vilaflor. As folk on the beaches below order lunch, they will pass less than 200m from the summit of Mt Teide, where thinner air makes breathing difficult; and as we sip our first glass of Canary wine with dinner they may pause for a split-second to admire the view over the Orotava Valley down to Puerto de la Cruz, where they will arrive sometime before midnight on October 24/25th.
Why take 24 hours to cover this distance of 97km? Because they will be running the whole distance. This is the longest section of the Tenerife Bluetrail (other distances are 66km, 43km, 20km and a special 5km section for those with reduced mobility). So far over 2,000 runners are inscribed overall.
This race is the cream of the crop of endurance sports Tenerife offers. What prompts anyone to punish their body, running from one side of the island to the other, with an altitude gain of 6,411 metres? I asked a participant. The answer was complicated, but, basically, came down to the personal challenge, plus a love of the outdoor life. “When you experience the high level of physical and mental fatigue a 24hr race induces it breaks life down to essentials.” The most difficult part, he told me, is convincing yourself to go on when both aching body and brain tell you to stop.
To run an ultra, obviously, you have to be extremely fit. Training will include 4 or 5 runs of varying length per week, including one of two-thirds to three-quarters of the 97km about three weeks before the big day, tapering off during the last 10 days or so. The island is criss-crossed with trails, some first trodden by the Guanche, so there is a variety of routes to train on. There are also ample resources for cross training like swimming or cycling, and beaches and walks for the gentle exercise which aids recovery after the race.
And the rewards? He told me that winners have been quoted as saying that crossing the finish line made them feel that there was nothing in life they could not do. I can believe that!
In the 2 days preceding the event, Santa Cruz’s Recinto Ferial hosts an exhibition, where you will find films about this race and other ultras, information about hiking in the area, and other sport-related topics.
Regular readers of this blog will know that the film “Clash of the Titans” was filmed in Tenerife a while back. For me the guys and girls who undertake this extreme sport are the real Titans of Tenerife, so if you are out and about the island on October 24th and see any of the runners making their weary way, please give them a cheer of encouragement. I’m told every cheer is heard and counts.
Note: Due to inclement weather on the original date the race was due to take place, the Tenerife Bluetrail 2015 will now be held on November 28.
Category : events
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