10 Things I Think About The Alfarnate 12k
1. Hola Barr’s Guy
I think that the 12k of Alfarnate is a hidden gem, it’s like a secret race, a secret race that only the locals know about, without Facebook and google translate it would have remained secret. Despite its secretive nature John Meade didn’t even require google translate to get his club changed from the “accidental” Leevale A.C that I had entered him as. A quick word in the ear of the local organisers and Leevale became St Finbarr’s. Mercenary Meade was no more.
2. Crushing Coffey
I think that I gave Donal Coffey every chance of beating me on his real return from a career threatening debilitating stress fracture. We could have run a normal flat road race in Málaga where I would have beaten him very badly. Instead I kindly offered him a nice hilly gravelly road race with nearly 1000ft of of climbing where he would feel at home. He has been a regular on the podium in the mountain running scene so he had every advantage and no excuses in the Millstreet of Malaga that is Alfarnate.
3. Verde y Blanco
I think that our assumptions from the start line were very valid. The execution of strides are a dead give away, especially in Spain. The only guy doing strides was in a green and white singlet with matching shorts with his name Carlos printed on the back, always a worrying sign, he looked really fast. Our worries were magnified when the gun went off as Carlos took off at a frightening pace that would win most 3000m races. Meade and I hung back a bit behind, waiting, Coffey stayed back, unable.
I think that us Cork runners are underrated at running up hills. It took us about a mile to gradually catchup to the green and white singlet worn by Carlos. I had to drag Meade up to him because he’s cagey at racing. When we got up to Carlos he made that sign with your hand that signifies big hill or slope, he looked afraid. We ran together as a group for a few hundred meters, when we reached the lower slopes of the hill that was the source of Carlos’s hand gestures Meade took off, I hung with Carlos for a bit, then I decided that I too could run on hills and took off after Meade.
5. Vs and Us
I think that I had the beating of John Meade, I shouldn’t have let him go on that first hill, he was vulnerable, especially as there was a guy on a mountain bike cycling alongside him. On the second hill I was closing on him rapidly, I knew why, I could see that he was talking to the guy on the bike most likely telling him his new favorite excellent story about the Vs and the Us in the paintings in Malaga. His stories while excellent consume effort and do in fact slow him down.
6. Man > MTB
I think that the reason that I didn’t catch Meade was because the mountain bike couldn’t keep up with him on the third gravel trail hill so he had to stop telling stories and concentrate on running. Meade flew up it, the MTB had to stop, even I caught and passed the MTB. I was a little worried that Coffey would catch me on the hills but when I passed dogs I couldn’t hear them barking behind me so I assumed that he was miles back, either that or the dogs were scared of him.
I think it was a good idea to wear my Irish headband from Boston. It is very sunny and very hot in Alfarnate, the headband apart from looking excellent, kept the sunscreen and sweat mixture out of my eyes and kept me nice and cool. Meade who was sweating for the first time ever, had greatly difficulty with stingy eyes from the sweat and sunscreen combo.
8. Uno Dos Tres
I think that it was amazing that Coffey was able to finish on the podium with myself and Meade. It took him ages to get going but he did eventually. He was however much slower than me through every mile split when we looked back on Strava. Somehow he managed to overhaul Carlos for third place and secure a Cork one two three for the podium.
9. Paella Eile
I think that the post race race experience in Alfarnate is the best in the world, they have everything, sunshine, heat, DJ, free beer, free paella, free ginger sugary biscuits and an excellent podium. The sugary ginger biscuits are the tastiest crumbliest biscuits in the world, like ginger nuts just more crumbly.
I think it’s a great pity that we could only bring the trophies home to Cork. We won enough olive oil and coffee bean wine to open a small tapas bar in Cork. We debated drinking it or trying to sneak it on to the plane. Instead we had to gift it to the AirBnB host. She seemed delighted with her 7L of olive oil. It must be good stuff.