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An update from Aleece in Spain

posted 21 Dec 2010, 13:03 by Leanne Dyksterhuis
Below is an update from Aleece who is currently in Spain

There is a pretty lively bunch of runners here in the Basque Country. There's at least one event every weekend; many of them are quite small, some very big, and the standard is generally pretty high. It was a bit scary at first, everyone looks terribly professional and there are no walkers to be seen. When you get going you find there are plenty of casual runners just there for fun too. There are much fewer female runners here though, the vast majority are men.

I've done two races so far, a 10km and a half marathon. The 10km was in a small town called Amurrio, there were about 250 competitors and I ran 45:45, which placed me 12th out of 26 women. The half was this Sunday the 19th. There were about 3000 competitors of which about 200 were women. I ran 1:39:24, 42nd out of the women, 23rd in my category and about 1400th overall.

I've joined a team called La Blanca, which I think are pretty good.. They got 1st and 2nd men for the half, and 1st woman, plus a bunch of category wins or places. You can check out our classy uniforms and race results here: although they've put gross times up not net times.

I train with a little group a few times a week - not people from my team but a mix of runners from different teams. I have class a couple of evenings a week so can't go to every session, so usually I do the tough sessions with the group and recovery ones alone. They're a really nice bunch. Also, everything is free, which is pretty delightful. As far as I can tell this is due to a number of factors: firstly there is very good funding for sport here, secondly our coach is a retired - and very generous - man who coaches just because he enjoys it and as far as I can tell isn't paid, and thirdly, I think my team paid my membership and national federation fees because as I said there aren't many female runners so I'm increasing their numbers. Possibly also it helps with funding and sponsorship to have international runners registered.

Anyway I hope everything is going well at Monash. I check out your update Email once in a while and it looks like numbers are still high. I'm looking forward to coming back to training next year - hopefully in better shape than when I left!