Tenerife Bluetrail - June 8th 2018
Conditions for the 7th running of Tenerife’s Cajamar Bluetrail races on Saturday were not quite as expected and although near perfect temperatures, torrential early morning rain made the underfoot conditions, especially downhill, extremely challenging. Light rain persisted until the majority of runners were not far from the finish – and then the sun shone!
The atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the 1700 runners however was not dampened.
With five race distances to choose from - the Ultra 102km, the Trail 66km, the Maraton (sic), the Media of 20km and a 1.2km /8km for athletes with a disability, the routes skirted the edges of Spain’s highest mountain, Mount Teide (3788m), in heading for the finish in the coastal town of Puerto de la Cruz
The Ultra and blue riband race saw Yeray Duran Lopez of Gran Canaria romp to the finish in a mere 12 hours 57 minutes and 3 seconds. Traversing the island from south west coast to the north coast, the Ultra journey began just before midnight on Friday when conditions were freezing and windy but at least gave the ultra-runners until dawn to take advantage of the dry conditions. With 6784m of ascent and reaching 3555m above sea level, not far from the summit of Mount Teide, the course was an awesome test of endurance and technical skill
Performance of the day arguably went to Spaniard Azara Garcia De Los Salamones Marcane (I am the Storm) who finishing 4th overall in 14.21.52 was closer to the male winner than was her nearest female rival to her.
On finishing, the party atmosphere in Puerto de la Cruz with the enchanting beat of a highly animated 50-piece percussion band helped banish thoughts of fatigue and aching quads. The sense of achievement was palpable.
My pre-race training in the scenic trails of the Surrey Hills and the rolling paths of the Sussex South Downs provided me with good preparation but perhaps lacked enough practice of the mountain goat-like skills required to descend the technically tricky as well as muddy and slippy paths of the Bluetrail.
That said the breath-taking scenery and Spanish hospitality made for an unforgettable induction into the world trail racing. The challenge was underestimated but conquered.
Reporting for Trail Running on the Tenerife Cajamar Bluetrail was mountain running rookie Elspeth Turner a former Scottish international track and cross-country runner and current Over 50 marathon runner (2.57.52) who found that mountain and trail running requires downhill technique and nerve on a different scale than she thought. Despite being the leading female in the Bluetrail Media race at the high point in the race, she found herself 3rd and 10 minutes behind the winner at the finish line. With no prior expectations she admitted that “trail and mountain running is a whole different experience - wonderful and exhilarating but most definitely to be respected.”
This year was a major success, so if you were unable to participate in this year’s Bluetrail race, be an early bird and register for next year, which is June 8th 2019. Visit the Tenerife Bluetrail website to register and get loads of information about the race:www.tenerifebluetrail.com