The Grapevine 10K Challenge

The 10k six!

We were now over half-way through our training for the Málaga 10K or were we? The running for the “10K Five” (Steve and Helen Twiselton {Grapevine}, Debbie and I {Todo Papel}and Jenny {Misterweb}) was going well but we were running blind. No I don't mean with white sticks or guide dogs but we still had no solid confirmation as to exactly when the race was to take place. Was this all a futile exercise? We had nominated a worthy cause for which to raise money but needed a firm date for the run.
Between our respective training runs we were anxiously scouring the internet for information without success. Jenny and Debbie were now road running between Cómpeta and Canillas de Albaida at 8am and clocking regular 4K-5K's before starting the day. Customers were commenting when they came into the shop that they had seen someone who looked like Debbie running on the road. Maybe being behind a counter all day made people think she didn't actually own a pair of legs but kind of floated on a bed of air. The training was having a positive relationship effect as Mr & Mrs T had been running from Torre del Mar to Caleta de Vélez along the sea-front. Aah, how romantic. A gentle run along the Mediterranean shore as the sun rose on the horizon. Lovely!

For my part I admit to starting to lose motivation a little. I wasn't relishing my runs and when I did my times weren't necessarily improving a great deal, if at all. Then a little relief came by way of visitors for a few weeks and then the discipline went. To say my father-in-law likes his food is an understatement. He plans and cooks each meal days in advance and it provided the excuse I was looking for. Cooking enough food to feed an army I took on the role of the Green Howards Regiment. Running didn't stop completely but eating and drinking was the dominant activity. Maybe it was what was needed because by the time they left I was ready to recommence the training. I had a few weeks of excess to run off and I started with renewed vigour. On the Sunday after they left I ran my first 10K in nearly 15 years and got round in a respectable time. The eating fest had paid off.

Posted times were showing Steve T was ahead by some distance but mine and Mrs T's times were very close. A rivalry had started to develop and slowly money was being pledged based on who was to win between the two of us. Steve (Misterweb) had pledged €100 to our charity if I beat Mrs T. The pressure was mounting.
We then had a breakthrough regarding the actual date of the race and it was as expected; the last Sunday in October. We now had a target date. The only thing I could think of was we'd have an extra hour in bed the night before as we put the clocks back.

The night before the race was a pasta party for Debbie and I as we carbo-loaded for energy, no alcohol and an early night with that all important extra hour in bed.

On the day of the race we woke to bright sunshine and temperatures of over 25C in Málaga. Not ideal for running. We arrived in Málaga with enough time to collect our timing chip and made our way to the start outside El Corte Inglés. At the 11th hour the “10K Five” once again became the original “10K Six”, as Steve Misterweb had decided he would run to support his lady wife. There's dedication for you. Had he been secretly training during the hours of darkness?

At 10am sharp we were away, but rather slowly as 10,000 people had to get over the start line. Skill was weaving in and out of the stragglers and within the first 1km I was ahead of the man to beat, Steve T. It didn't last long as he showed a clean pair of heels and my focus was trying to find Mrs T. It was futile so time to settle into a rhythm and just hope she was behind me. The sights of Málaga town centre on a sunny Sunday morning are something to be behold, I just wish I was able to enjoy them. As the race went on I didn't see any of the rest of the group and started to get paranoid. Were they all ahead of me? As transpired later, Steve and Jenny Misterweb were sticking together and even stopped at the market near the Rosalada footy stadium to buy some water. Steve T was blazing a trail in front while Debbie was keeping going despite no feeling in her feet. But where was Mrs T? As I crossed the finishing line with a Usain Bolt type sprint (yeh right!), after a few minutes Mrs T joined me in the finishing queue for water. I'd pipped her over the line and the coffers were swelled by €100. Honestly, it wasn't the winning it was the money! Did she know and had she let me win? Whatever, it's all for charity, but we don't like to talk about it. Jenny had finished in bare feet Zola Budd style accompanied by her loyal husband, Steve Misterweb, Debbie had run all the way with only a few metres walking and Steve T was sitting having a drink before we were in sight of the finishing line.

We'd done it! 9 weeks of mountain training had come down to this. And the most important thing was we'd raised over €1,000 for Fletcher so a HUGE thank you to all our sponsors. It ended how it started with more than a few beers and a fat steak. “Fancy doing a half-marathon, anyone?” “********** ****” came the reply!

Special thanks also goes to Debbie and Andy from Sugar and Spice and Margot for looking after the kids and valuables during the race and also to our supporters Bill and Cherry.

Alick Howard

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