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Winter Sun Run


This month, roving reporter Julia travelled to Benidorm… with a niggling injury she decided not to race, but took part in a group run, and talked to other runners running in the marathon…


before I headed off for Spain. I left Fiona and arrived six hours later in Benidorm, to be greeted by Timo, the Running Crazy helper who I had met in Niagara a month ago. “The next morning, I woke early to Benidorm in the dark! I could see the sea from my hotel balcony and so as soon as the sun streaked across the sky I headed out to find my way there. Benidorm had a feel of the Brits on holiday, but the mountains rising up around it and the promenade were a delight, with the sun sparkling on the sea, welcome after the bitter snap I had left behind (and was to return to!) in the UK.


O My marathon man


“I met Steve, just after arriving at the hotel, and he agreed to tell me the story of his race and let me follow him for the weekend. Steve lives in Cumbria and has been running all his life. He spent 30 years in the police force and told me he had worked in various departments, including the traffic police.


n Friday afternoon I met Fiona (RF’s Editor) for a coffee and a delicious piece of banana cheesecake in a venue chosen for its close location to the train station, to allow us as much chatting time as possible


A stroll on the prom - Steve gives a thumbs up as he runs 3:22


Having retired from the police force three years ago he is now fulfilling a lifelong ambition to act and he has been working as an extra. He told me about a scene in the next series of Shameless where he plays a police officer who makes a trip to a brothel… watch episode nine and all will be revealed. It was an entertaining breakfast chat! And so on to the running. “As well as being an extra over the past three years,


retirement has given him time to really focus on his running. Steve ran the Himalaya 100 miles and he also planned and orchestrated a charity event where he ran 13 marathons in 13 days, finishing with the London Marathon, then jumping on his bike to speed the 900 miles up to John O’Groats, just stopping along the way to run up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. He did this solo and unsupported over 27 days. “Steve is 51 and has been running since he was a boy. He ran


2:54 for the marathon in the late 1990s and then suffered a lot with a piriformis injury that he has cured with Concept 2 rowing. He is now on the return stretch and hoping for sub threes again. He recently ran 3:36 in the tough Snowdon Marathon, so had come to Benidorm with the hope of sub 3:20.


Half marathon at night


“At 5:30pm I made my way to the gathering area and there were crowds of Running Crazy runners – it was dark and cold and raining, but as we all filed to the start the air of excitement and expectancy gathered in intensity. There was a buzz and flashes of colourful gear under bin liners, as people were warming up, running up and down splashing through puddles. I stood in the crowd on the start line feeling calm, as I wasn’t running a race, but joining in the informal 10k race organised by Running Crazy, ideal for me with my lingering niggle/injury. “I have never done this so it felt a little odd, but not unpleasant and I was keen to make absolutely certain that I build up and don’t break down.


34 ■ RUNNING FREE


BENIDORM MARATHON


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