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Cyprus 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon

24 March, 2012 0 comments

Cyprus with Running Crazy

Cyprus 10k half marathon and marathon

Cyprus is a small country with a long history and a rich culture. Even in the few days I was there I was enchanted by her magic and energy and feel drawn to return. It is fortunate there is a race there that will lure me back again for sure!

My entire life has been informed by love and relationship and running!  It is out of the seas of Pafos where we were staying, that Aphrodite, Greek Olympian goddess of Love and Beauty is said to have risen and it was in Pafos that the worship of the goddess flourished. The charm of the goddess can still be felt throughout the area and it felt very special for me to be in a place so resonant with my own ‘life’s work’! The marathon even begun at Aphrodite’s rock and finished at the fort in Pafos itself.

I had only made the decision to race in Pafos a few weeks earlier when on my way to a Cross Country race. In truth I was attracted by running in some sun and knew little of the history of the place before I set off!

I had texted Malcolm of Running Crazy ‘Do you still have any places left for Cyprus 10k’? He had replied instantly ‘Get some flights sorted today and I’ll fit you in’!

Travelling with Running Crazy is always a good experience. Malcolm looks after us so well, he is responsive and organized and there is never a stone left unturned. All you have to do is book your flights and the rest is taken care of; hotels found, race entry sorted, numbers given to you on race night, ferried to the race start on foot or by transport if necessary , clothes looked after – and a post race party to celebrate in style!  All the things that can cause extra stress if ‘going it alone’ are thought of and looked after…

The other plus of Running Crazy trips is that if you do want to ‘be alone’ as opposed to ‘going it alone’, then there is no pressure to join in, but should you want companionship there are always friendly runners ready to go out for a meal, a run or a sight see with!

I have done both, kept myself to myself and done my own thing and joined in and made new friends and had many laughs!

I headed out from my home in Eastbourne at 4.45am to catch the first train at 5.08 for a 7.20 flight. This cut it a little fine and it was ‘all action‘at Gatwick to eventually settle down for a four hour flight. I love flying, I love the ‘in between ‘bit of travelling, the space where I always feel that ‘anything could happen’! As it was I had a very pleasant flight, a bit of sleeping, a bit of eating and a lot of reading.  Still unaware of where I was heading in terms of its history, I was reading a book called ‘Desire’ –The tantric path to awakening’ – so in some ways I was doing my homework!

Stepping out onto the warm sunny tarmac, I felt peaceful and energized at the same time; and there was Kio who is a Running Crazy regular like me! I was delighted to see him; he is a wonderful man, over 70 years old and travels the world running races. Soon we were through baggage reclaim and I spotted Malcolm in his ‘easy to spot’ bright green T shirt, with him were Robert and Sharon who I had met in Budapest last September and a trio of people I hadn’t met before – Terry and his daughter Becky and Terry’s friend and training companion Steve. The three of us shared a taxi to our hotel and whilst we were still checking in Malcolm arrived with Sharon Robert and Kio– lunch was suggested so I, with Robert Sharon Kio, Mac who was Malcolm’s helper for this trip and Malcolm himself went down the road for some lunch. The sun shone, conversation and a spot of beer, fittingly called Keo, flowed and afterwards we walked down to the sea and stood on the edge of the sparkling Mediterranean relaxing in the warmth of a sunny Cyprus afternoon.

The afternoon was idled away and dinner was a fun affair; I met up with the whole group and we had a drink in the bar and ate in the hotel together, swapping running and life stories; finding out who we all were and sharing much laughter!

The next day dawned warm and sunny. I headed off for a run along the coast, and felt more connected to the place as I explored Pafos by running through it.

I spent the rest of the day doing my favourite thing – drinking coffee, sitting in a café and reading and writing! I didn’t feel inclined to go very far afield as I wanted to rest to race well, and because I was there for such a short visit, I was happy to be embraced by Pafos itself and simply bask in the comfort of its beauty, warmth and positive energy.

In the evening there was a meeting arranged for us by Malcolm to make sure we had all we needed for race day and to be given our numbers.

The race has been going for 14 years and is a small but very well organized affair. There were about 100 competitors in the marathon and 200 in the half and 200 in the 10k which were to set off at 9am from the fort. The marathon runners were to start an hour earlier at 8am and were bussed to Aphrodite’s rock in order to run back to the fort!

At breakfast the following morning Liz, one of the runners who had arrived in time for dinner the night before asked me what I was hoping for in the 10k – ‘I reckon I can run between 41 and 41.30 at the moment’ I said. This was to be my first ‘time over distance’ outing since recovering from my knee injury, but my training indicated this was a fair aim!

We all met outside the hotel for photos and then walked and jogged to the fort about half a mile away to warm up for the start of our races. I was the only person from Running Crazy to be racing the 10k and Peter was the only person to be racing the marathon – the rest of the group were going for the half!

I felt good warming up and relaxed and ready…

The starter announced 2 minutes to go - 30 seconds – 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 – and we were off…

I felt good from the outset, and a mile passed with ease, half way through the second mile I suddenly felt my shoe lace come undone. This has never ever happened before in 40 years of racing! I rushed the ‘doing it up again’ process a bit, but managed to contain myself from trying to ‘catch up’ too fast and settled back into my race. I liked running the 10k! Up to the roundabout, round it and back again, having the half marathoners streaming towards us.  The Running Crazy runners waved and shouted and we generally encouraged one another as I raced for home, feeling good, feeling strong. Malcolm filmed me as I ran by, shouting words of encouragement and running alongside to get a good shot!

My stop watch stopped at 41.35 – and my official time was 41.38. I was very happy with my run and after a quick chat with Mac, jogged back to the hotel for a shower and was able to be out in time to see Liz race by to finish her half marathon.

I stood in the sun watching the runners go by slowly making my way back to the fort where a band was starting up and music filled the air, this was followed by Greek dancing. The carnival atmosphere was helped by free beer flowing, served alongside the bananas, energy drinks and pieces of orange to suck!

In the Running Crazy gang 4 of us won age group trophies – Paul in the half marathon, Liz in the half marathon, Peter in the marathon and me in the 10k. In jubilant spirits we made our way back to lunch with promise of a party later on…

Malcolm puts so much effort into creating a special trip every time. I have travelled with Running Crazy many times now and the excellent standard has never wavered. We made our way later that evening to a local pub and watched the film that Malcolm had created of the event. It was really good and we all went home with a copy of it!

I was also awarded special stones that Malcolm and Mac had picked up for me from Aphrodite’s rock, knowing my special interest in the Goddess… a fitting memento of my special time in a magical land!

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