Maraton del Meridiano 2018

Report by Ashley Middlewick

The Maraton del Meridiano – an eventful experience to say the least!!!

Left my Airbnb place at 8.40 expecting a 45 min walk to get to the start. 5 minutes after setting off I was offered a lift by a passing camper van (the driver was also running) and I got to sit on the bed in the back accompanied by two yappy little dogs :). So I get to the start nice and early. Good atmosphere and there’s a DJ playing some good uplifting music. Then reunite with fellow Brits Paul and Agnes who I met in the queue for the bib collection yesterday afternoon. I then drop my main bag off (opted for running with the Camelbak with orange jacket in in case it got cold higher up).

We set off on time at 10.00am (I had a flight to catch at 5.35pm so it was a race within a race with part 1 being get around the 42km and part 2 being find a taxi and get to the airport on time). 0.67 miles in everyone stopped and there was a significant delay of maybe 10 minutes before we got going again. Not sure what the delay was about but was just happy to get going again. Anyway it wasn’t long before the severe climbing started and everyone was reduced to a walk. All I could do was run/overtake where possible and hope that the waking wouldn’t last too long.

After about 4 miles we progressed onto a slightly downhill smooth trail and the pace was brisk. Then at the first timing mat I was called back – looked down and realized I’d lost my timing chip that was attached to my shoe with a bit of string that must have come undone. Thankfully the guy at the chip mat waved me on. After a slow technical descent down to the second timing checkpoint (9-10 miles in) in the small town of Sabinosa I stopped to explain to the officials about my chip situation. They radioed around to the other checkpoints letting them know my predicament and waved me on explaining that I didn’t need to stop again. After Sabinosa there was a lot of slow climbing with a considerable amount of walking involved. There were snippets of awesome views looking down at the sea far below. It was predominantly (or at least very significantly) up all the way to about mile 20. It seemed never ending especially with the strong winds and drizzle higher up (the abyss springs to mind). The descent when it eventually came was a welcome relief and the end seemed within reach. There were a few occasions when I had to stop and shake out the little bits of volcanic grit that had made their way into my shoes. Maybe 3 miles from the end I could start to hear the noise from the finish down below but there was a very techn

 

ical single-track forest descent to negotiate – time to stay composed. Eventually the path led us back into Frontera (the main town where the race started/ended) and there was one last steep down before a final right turn down the main Street/finishing straight.

The support was fantastic and I managed a decent finish. After crossing the line I immediately found a race official and asked him about me getting an official time despite losing my chip. He took me over to the timing guys and they showed me on the laptop that I had an official time – 4.59.18 :). It was about 3.15pm so I went to enquire about getting a taxi to the airport. I asked a guy in a MDM jacket – turns out he was a taxi driver and said he could get me to the airport for 4 euros and for me to come back at 4.00pm. Just enough time for a beer and to cheer some other runners across the line before jumping in the taxi with another runner and making our way to the airport. We arrived with an hour to spare – mission accomplished :).

Would 100% recommend the MDM event. Tough but stunning course with constantly changing weather on the beautiful little island of El Hierro where the people are friendly and atmosphere good. The course was superbly marked and feed stations well stocked. The pasta party the night before was brilliant and the food at the end wasn’t bad either. May well do this again next year.

England call for Caroline

ROADRUNNERS’ superstar vets Caroline Hoskins and Mark Worringham have both qualified to represent England. The pair returned stunning times in the south of England championships at Chichester to earn international places in May.

Carrie will now line up in an England Masters vest in the Great Birmingham 10k… but Mark is sadly unavailable for the big day. The former Roadrunners captain finished 12th overall in the fiercely-competitive Chichester Priory 10k and was the winner of the MV40 age group in 32mins 57secs.

Like Mark, Carrie just missed a personal best, but her time of 38mins 44secs was good enough for third place in the FV50 section and 18th lady overall.

The first three Masters in each age group will line up in England colours against another international team yet to be announced. And they will have pride of place in an advanced starting pen just behind the elite group.

Now the Henley grandmother faces an anxious wait for official confirmation of her call-up. A thrilled Carrie said:  “It was a hard race and very windy, but a great event.

“I presume I will hear soon from England Athletics but I have no idea when so I will celebrate when the email comes through. Fingers crossed.

“I was 24 seconds off my 10k pb but happy with that in the conditions… very, very cold and very windy for the last 4K.”

To complete a great day of family success Carrie’s daughter Sophie improved her pb by over two and a half minutes with a time of 42:02.

Unfortunately Mark, who has already represented his country this winter as a cross-country international, won’t be able to join Carrie in Birmingham.

“I will be away that weekend with the boys’ rugby club,” he said, “so I never put myself forward for consideration. I was entered for Chichester before they announced it was a qualification race.”

He was disappointed, too, not to manage a pb. “My best time is 32:05 on the track and 32:22 on the road,” he said. “In fact, I think I’ve run quicker than today about six or seven times.” But Mark has plenty of big targets for the running year ahead, starting with a tilt at a sub 2hrs 30mins in the Brighton Marathon in April.

And he also has the Masters World Track and Field Championships to look forward to in Malaga in September. Along the way he will be seeking that elusive sub-32mins 10k.

Carrie, meanwhile, also has plenty of big targets in the next few weeks… Bramley, the Wokingham and Reading Half Marathons and then London, where she will be aiming to finish in under three hours again. 

Both the Roadrunners’ experienced stars have been nominated by the club in the ‘veteran achiever’ category in the Reading sports personality of the year award next month.

Middle-distance runner Helen Pool was also nominated for a local SPOTY prize in the ‘improver’ category.

 

Apsey wins Tadley

ROADRUNNER Mark Apsey stormed to victory in the Thames Valley Cross Country League fixture at Tadley… but he was not the real hero of the hour.

That honour fell to his 11-month-old daughter Tilly, who for once allowed him a full night’s sleep before the race.

“That meant I was able to go into it feeling fresh,” said Mark, “as well as quietly confident after a fourth-place finish in our home fixture.

“So, following a trademark David McCoy fast start, I took the lead after about 500m and managed to hold on to it for the rest of the race.

“For the first lap I knew there was a group just behind me but each time they came up to my shoulder I was able to hold them off. On lap two the group had dropped back but I still felt strong and did all I could to take it out for the win.”

Along with the failure of home club Tadley to field any runners to contest their own event, the atrocious weather and conditions were the big talking-point of the day for runners, team officials and spectators.

But Apsey said: “The course was great. Perfect cross country… mud, water, ducks and leaps. The mud was different from our home fixture. This was slippery mud and although I felt my feet sliding around, my spikes just about kept me vertical the whole way round.

“It was nice to take the win. I’ve had a few in the green vest over the years but this was definitely up there with the best.”

Our winner got great support from McCoy, who finished 11th, one place in front of another Irishman, the vastly-improved Fergal Donnelly, with Andrew Smith, Andy Blenkinsopp and Ian Giggs also scoring to bring us home in third place.

Gemma Buley was again first finisher for our ladies in 17th, well backed up by Alix Eyles, Sarah Alsford and captain Sam Whalley, giving us fifth place and helping the club to fourth overall on the day.

The Thames Valley League roadshow now moves on to the Bracknell club’s home fixture at Lightwater, where there will be all to play for against Windle Valley, Datchet and Sandhurst in the battle for end-of-season podium honours.

The good news is that Mark Apsey will definitely be on the start line for us in that one to close out his cross-country season.

For the rest of the year he has one big goal, and a sub-35mins 10k looks well within his capabilities on last summer’s form.

The only event firmly fixed on his calendar is the Mayfair Tower Race in May, a charity run aimed mainly at the hospitality industry. The 5k round Hyde Park sounds OK, but good luck with the climb of 28 floors to the finish at the top of the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane!

Results link: http://www.tvxc.org.uk/results/detail?race_id=77