San Silvestre Seville

10 Things I Think about the San Silvestre Seville

1. Spained

Myself and John entered the race online the night before for €15 which included a nice t-shirt. The entry fee had increased from €10 earlier in the week. When we got to the entry desk to collect our numbers, our names were absent from the list. Anticipating a bout of spaining we had our confirmatory emails. We showed our emails to the nice Spanish ladies who after gesticulating and kissing each other randomly for about 15 minutes produced two numbers and two t-shirts. Problem solved. Spain is great.

2. Race Prep

We weren't really targeting this race. We did our normal session in the morning and then had a big feed of tapas. By 6 o'clock we weren't exactly in peak condition for racing.

3. Race Gear

The San Silvestre races are as much a novelty costume race as anything else, entrants included a team of roman soldiers, a set of christmas decorations and a fairy. I wore my "Shteak Spuds and Pull Like a Dog" Hairy Baby T-Shirt along with my new cheap dodgy sunglasses. I don't think this qualified as a costume.

4. Route

This is Spain, the race was advertised as "approximados 5k" I think this translates as any distance except 5k. God only knows why it couldn't have been exactly 5k as they had a traffic cone at one end of the course which could just have been moved to make the correct distance. One thing I've learned is that the Spanish aren't big on accuracy. It ended up being 5.5k. Ah sure how bad. They chip timed it for some mad reason.

5. Start Line

At the start they had the most stereotypical charismatic Spanish MC on duty to whip up the crowd, think Cork cross country races just Spanish. Knowing my territory, I wandered over to him and said something about being Irish. This made him very happy (indicated by gesticulation) so he handed me the microphone. I advised everyone to "Pull like a Dog". Sinead, Conor and John found it funny not so sure about the Spaniards.

6. Start

As with all races in Spain everyone of the 2000 entrants including the costumes looked like elite athletes who had been hot housed for many years in preparation for this race. The charismatic Spanish MC counted us down and off we took at far too fast a pace.

7. The Race

I had planned to run the race with Conor and John pacing Sinead however that plan didn't last long due to the adrenaline coursing through my body from my prerace MC duties. I was hoping that the course would be "approximados" less than 5k and I'd be able to be brag about my 14min 5k in Spain (fuelled by fluimucil) however it ended up being an 18:30 5.5k. At the end we all received a lovely goody bag which as you would expect in Seville contained an orange and a bottle of water.

8. "Elle" Campione

This week has been a good week for Irish athletes in Spain, Conor's sister Sinead who only arrived this morning was perfectly paced around the course by John and Conor to win the women's road race in a dramatic sprint finish. I did apologise for neglecting my pacing duties but I was confident in John's stamping driving any competition insane.

9. The Prize Giving

The prize giving was conducted by the charismatic Spanish MC. What a voice that man has. Approving of my pre race speech about dogs he again offered me the microphone. Full of post race adrenaline I started waffling thanking the people of Seville for their wonderful road race. I then congratulated Conor's sister who's name had been replaced in my brain by Claire Lambe the Olympic rower. The Spaniards didn't notice, this MCing crack is hard work.

10. Prizes

My favourite food so far in Spain is ham, Spanish ham is astoundingly good. For some reason second place in each category received a huge leg of ham. God that ham looked good, I wish I had finished second. Sinead got a lovely prize of a holiday in Malaga, for some reason the race organisers took my phone number, I think the charismatic Spanish MC might need an apprentice. Maybe I won't come home, I hear MCing pays well.