With the European summer in full swing and long summer days at hand, you would expect us to be hitting the trails and the beach every opportunity we get, however this has not been the case at casa de #whatrunnersdo for a number of reasons. The main one being Orsi being busy in completing her dissertation, and not having a lot of spare time to do anything else. So the priority has shifted somewhat from running to work. In any case, we always try to keep a balance, and pick and choose events when we can fit them in.
The Brigantia adventure team’s first ever trail event was announced a few months ago, and although at that time we were undecided, or rather, hoped to be able to get away from Coruña that weekend, eventually a few days before the event (5 days in fact) we eventually decided to sign up. The race was held not far from where we live, near one of the newer suburbs of Coruña, and that meant we would not lose so much time travelling there and back. It offered two options of a 12km short trail and a 23km longer trail, and we got in on the long option.
With some higher than normal temperatures in Galicia coupled with the hilly area where the event was being held, we were both a bit anxious about whether we could handle the heat. The organisers provided an elevation profile a few days before the event and a map of the course. Judging by the profile, it wasn’t going to be too bad, and Orsi knew a bit about the area from a few orienteering events she’s done around there.
We picked up our race numbers on Saturday morning from a local mountaineering shop, Cume Norte, which was one of the sponsors of the event. The event kit bag had a cool buff headband with the Brigantia colors and logo, along with some rather dubiously labelled “Protein” which turned out to be a can of Tuna. I guess if you can put your marketing department to work, even normal tuna can be turned into runner’s super food.
We met our friend Yulia on Sunday morning, who was giving us a ride to the start as she herself was signed up to do the 12km short course. We got to the start area and met with a few other runners whom we knew.
The race started with a countdown and we made sure we were in the front bunch and avoid getting behind slower runners as we did at the Xalo – you can see, we are still traumatized :P. The first km or so was on the road and then we branched onto a dirt road and into the first climb, which actually consisted of two pretty easy and comfortably runnable rolling climbs. I got ahead of a few people on the climbs, and then my goal was to maintain a pace that was just around 6min per km. We both had a Salomon soft flask each, which helped as it got quite hot during this run. At the first aid station I emptied two cups of water over my head as well as drinking some Powerade, which was on offer, and refilled the Salomon flask.
These Salomon soft flasks are great, by the way, if you don’t want to carry a running back pack on shorter distance trail races. They work for us as we can run for about 90mins without needing water, and, if there are aid stations on the course, you can easily refill them.
The trail was a combination of smaller single track trails and four wheel drive tracks through some hills and climbs along fire breaks. There were some technical down hills, but overall it was nothing too serious or difficult; completely runnable course with some great views out across to the city of Coruña on a couple of spots.
I lost a few places trying to take a photo from my phone camera at the top of one climb but my phone’s touch screen was for some reason not responding. So I ended up feeling a bit frustrated that I’d stopped and not got the photo. Oh well lesson learnt! When you are in a race don’t stop to take photos.
Orsi won the women’s overall comfortably, and this time for a change I was ahead of her, unlike the Xalo and the Betanzos events. After the race we got showered and grabbed a coffee and beers from a local café and stayed for the prize giving. Our friend Yulia was third in the 12km short course! Then it was back to the city via our favourite pizza place for lunch.
Also, check out the cool video they made about the event: