On a rainy Friday in October, 6 members of Grantham Running Club got on a plane and travelled nearly a thousand miles to take part in the half marathon and 10k in Palma, Majorca. This was the first time any of the group had taken part in a foreign race.
Their Balearic adventure began the day before with a brilliant expo where runners were treated to a pasta party and collected their numbers which displayed their national flags. 7,000 runners from all over the world were present as well lots from Europe and during the race all manner of accents could be heard (including erm… Newark…)
The race itself started early on the Sunday morning with a beautiful stretch along the coast, starting in front of the spectacular and enormous Santa Maria Cathedral. Runners worked their way from the start along the sea front for around 7 miles before hitting the hill that took them into the stunning historical city of Palma. The out and back nature of the start was particularly special as it meant club mates were able to see and shout encouragement to one another as they passed on opposite sides of the road.
The route then snaked around the narrow, cobbled streets and shopping areas where the crowd support was phenomenal, with DJs playing music, brass bands and drumming troupes making for an amazing soundtrack to the race.
Despite the early start, the heat soon climbed, making for a challenging race. The comparative cool of the narrow shaded streets offered a little respite (while offering the challenge of hills) before the course headed back into full exposure to the sun as runners headed towards the finish back on the sea front.
First back for GRC was Richard Payne in a season’s best of 1:34:39 as he continues to improve race on race. Happy running in the heat, he finished strongly with the last 3 miles being his fastest.
Hot on his heels was Sam Dodwell in 1:35:27 who also set a personal best at the local karaoke bar that night. Not only was this his first race abroad, it was his first time travelling outside of the UK. Sam suffered with the fast pace at the start but was happy to keep a consistent pace then on till the end. Kudos also to the Palma police who marshalled the whole of the route”
For Naomi Rivers, this was the furthest she had run all year and was thrilled to bits to come over the line in 2:01:33. This was also the biggest event she had ever taken part in and she loved the support shown on the course. The lead up to the race (including the food and the weather), the atmosphere on the day and the post run swim in the sea contributed to this being her favourite race to date.
Sylv Hull flagged in the heat somewhat but loved the atmosphere and experience of running round such a beautiful city and posted a time of 2:07:32.
Zoe Wragg ran an excellent 2:08:30 despite feeling a little off-colour during the latter stages of the race and was pleased to complete in sub 2:10 in the Spanish heat. She enjoyed the unique route and experience of racing abroad and even had a chat with some ladies from Newark Striders on the way round!
Julia Hallam took part in the 10k that never was. Due to a last-minute route change, the course was shortened to 9k. Julia certainly didn’t complain and enjoyed every minute of her race with a huge smile on her face. She also gained a PB for a whole new distance of 1:00:09.