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“The rustling of shiny paper capes filled the hotel lobby – the runners had enjoyed their rainy outing”

“I was joined on the sideline by Gerry North, this month’s

interviewee (see page 42). We’d run together the day before, and now we were to watch the race together. “Once the runners had streaked by and I had taken my first

“With the crack of the pistol we set off, splashing

through the puddles and weaving about to avoid the deep bits! The moment I finished running 10k (in 44.11), confident that my calf can now take proper training again, I made my frozen shivering way back to the hotel. I didn’t envy the runners who were only half way! “Once I was showered and back down in the hotel

reception the runners were starting to return. The rustling of shiny paper capes filled the hotel lobby, and it looked as if the runners had enjoyed their rainy outing. I went into dinner and met Mike Marten at the salad bar. Mike was competing the next day as the only participant in the wheelchair event. I asked him how he came to be in a wheelchair and he told me that 23 years ago, when he was 29, he had been a diver in the navy and was having a day off. He went water-skiing in the afternoon and had an accident

that broke his neck and changed the course of his life forever. Mike is a vibrant character with a great sense of humour and a look of Jack Nicholson about him (‘Yes, I have been told before’!). Steve, he and I had dinner together and swapped marathon and life stories!

Marathon morning

“The next morning I hadn’t set an alarm, as I anticipated waking up at my usual early 6am – I anticipated wrong! At 7:50am I woke up with a start, and had to do a speedy dress and teeth clean to be downstairs for 8am for the marathon start. The sun was shining – hurrah, I wasn’t looking forward to spectating in the rain! I met Steve and Mike on their way to the start and before long the race was underway.

Mike Marten – the only particpant in the wheelchair event

picture of Mike – he went past so fast that I got a pic of Gerry’s left foot – Gerry and I made our way to the five mile mark. It was a bit chilly in the shade and it was with some relief that once all the Running Crazy gang had gone through, Gerry and Malcolm (Running Crazy organiser and owner) and I made our way to the promenade and settled down in a café, ordering café con leche and toast with the sure knowledge that we could stay here a while now as this was the 11 and the 22-mile point in the marathon. The day was glorious, shining sun on sparkling sea. I sent Fiona a picture of the scene with the caption ‘I like this job’.

Dreams turn into reality

“There was a magic in watching everyone run by. It is surprisingly easy when sitting with a cup of coffee to disconnect from the enormity of the effort! I understand why people watch marathons and think, ‘I want to do that’. It’s incredible what has occurred over the past 30 years. People who would never have dreamt they had a marathon inside them now regularly achieve their dreams. “Steve looked stronger at 22 miles than at 11 – and Mike

looked good the whole way. “As the race drew to a close for many of our runners, Malcolm disappeared to see people in at the final straight. When everyone had gone past 22 miles Gerry and I thought we would make our way back to the finish. As we were approaching the road where the runners were coming in, I saw Steve. I raced along and ran to catch up with him and got a picture as he reached 42k. He had run very well and achieved a time of 3:22, which gave him the confidence boost he needed to help him head back down to sub three hours again. “Mike came in first in the wheelchair event in a time of 4:09 and at dinner that night showed us his magnificent trophy and had us all in hysterics talking about being victorious in a field of one!”

COSTA DEL RUN ■ The Benidorm half and marathon have grown in popularity and the marathon course is fast and flat, with PB potential. ■ Running Crazy ( have been granted exclusive early guaranteed race entries (maximum capacity 3,500 runners) by the Benidorm Marathon and Half Marathon organisers. Incorporated within the Half Marathon race is the Running Crazy informal 10K. ■ The Half Marathon starts on Saturday evening and is run over a flat course on closed public roads. It takes in the town’s two main beach areas. ■ The Marathon takes place early on Sunday morning. ■ Packages are organised with Prices are from £99. The weekend includes accommodation, transfers, entertaintment and race day support. ■ The weather in November is a mild 11 to 16 degrees centigrade, with an average of five sunshine hours a day!



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