I’d registered for this trail race (13.3 km / 350m ascent) during a miserable week in Glasgow, where I’d returned from all of my morning runs completely drenched, and hadn’t really thought about how difficult it would be to run under the stifling August sun in Spain. In Zaragoza the temperatures had been as high as 43 oC the week prior to the race and I’d only managed to run a maximum of 9 km in the mornings when the heat was around 28 oC. The wee village of Villaunua is in the Pyrenees but the temperatures there have been unusually high for the last couple of weeks, so I wasn’t looking forward to running 13 km at 10 in the morning in 30-35 oC heat. The location is lovely: a little mountain village on the river surrounded by 2000m+ peaks. I started off well, around 8th, but the first 2 km running on forest trails with no shade meant that I soon tired and was overtaken by about ten folk on the first climb. I’ve never felt so exhausted on such a relatively short (250 m) climb: I was sweating tremendously and feeling quite woozy. But at 5km I was delighted at the sight of a very well-organised watering station so I drenched myself with water, gulped some down and felt instantly revived. I then managed to race down two of those who had passed me on the climb and continued to bomb it down the side of the hill only to find I’d been running so enthusiastically that I’d missed a marker and had went the wrong way! Doubling back cost me a few places but I continued on towards the next little climb. Here again I felt totally wiped out and pretty dire but was once again revived at the next watering station. From here on I ran with a group of five other runners down some beautiful trails and tracks towards the village. This part of the race really was gorgeous and I just focused on enjoying the run and not worrying about anything else. It seemed to work and, in my lack of concentration, I’d found that I was relaxed and running well and reeling in runners one at a time so that for the last 2km of road into and around the town I could see nobody ahead of me and wasn’t being chased down either, which was just as well as I felt that I had absolutely nothing left in the tank. The winner came in around 53 min and in the end I finished 19th in just over 60 min. I’ve included a link to possibly the worst results table ever: alphabetical order and no club names!

Route

Results

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