I live in Andalusia, home to one of the hottest and most arid climates in Spain, this year however, we’ve had one of the mildest Springs in the last decade. But right the very day before the Southern Spain Masters Athletic Track Championships, the weather soared up to over 40º C and not only that, but the Regional Athletics Federation sent out an urgent communication that in the very same perimeter of the athletics track a music concert had also been programmed, and not just any concert, but for one of the most popular Spanish pop stars on the scene right now. (It’s like organising a Robbie Williams concert at Crystal Palace with a regional Track Championships at the same venue, at the same time) the mind boggles just trying to figure out the logistics and that no-one realised the clash of events until the day before is just staggering.
Basically, I was told that instead of running in the early evening with a cool eventide breeze, my race had been brought forward to 4.30 pm in no other place than Seville (aka “El Sarten”…which translates to “The Frying Pan”) May I just add here that we get bombarded by health and safety messages about avoiding physical activities in the middle of the day and there we were preparing to run, bang on the hottest time of the day in probably the hottest part of Spain. To get the right visual, simply turn your oven to 250º F and then open it and breathe in deeply (have your phone handy just in case you need to do a hasty 999 call). That dry heat hit me on stepping out onto the track. I could hear the crowds cueing for the concert humming outside the stadium, crazy folk, though I wasn’t sure who was crazier, those outside whom had been waiting for hours and still had several more to go, or me planning to run in this Sahara-like-desert heat, even if it would only be for a few minutes.
It was the first time ever I didn’t bother warming up. I was sweating buckets just strolling across the track to the warm-up area. All the other competitors asked me what time I was hoping to run the 1500m. “Time?” I queried back puzzled, “I just want to finish without collapsing.” And I actually thought we would all run a slow race, but the gun went off and two of the competitors were off like the clappers, in the first two hundred metres they got over twenty metres on me and all I could think was “What on earth are they doing? Surely they won’t be able to keep that pace up in this heat?!” But to my surprise they did. But with one lap to go, I knew I had a chance of chasing them down and that if I did then collapse because of the heat, I would have at least made it to the finish line…
At then end of the day, despite the heat, I had fun, and that’s what counts (not having to visit the on-site doctor was also a plus).
If you’re really bored and have five minutes to spare, you can watch the race here… (It’s a 6 hour recording of the championships, but my race is at minute 4hrs 11 minutes. I’m third most of the way around). Andalusian Masters Track Championships
Do what you Enjoy
And Enjoy what you Do!