How everything started?
I was wondering what was behind this race, it was a bet between friends to see who was the fastest to get to Spinola or just a nice route when the traffic wasn´t as bad as today. The distance is 10.8 miles or 17.4 km so it is not an official race, it´s the “mdina2spinola”. I like the type of classic runs where you can do your best and enjoy a 37-year old race.
Imagine the very few runners in Malta back in 1979. For sure they were one or two clubs in Malta, I tried searching for. In one of the first Mdina2Spinola races just 17 runners took part.
I was checking the times for other editions and it´s amazing how the records for the race have been hold since 1997 by Kevin Zammit – 0:53:47. The record still remains unbeaten after 20 years. That morning Kevin went down in an average pace of 3.05km/min – it´s insane!
For me it´s my favourite race. Xmas time, the atmosphere is great and the route is fast and fun. Downhill during the first part and then goes completely flat with small downhills. I´ve been running it 4 times and this one was the hardest due to the weather conditions.
5:00 in the morning the alarm rings, breakfast and shower part of my pre-race ritual. By 6.15 I was in Mdina, the weather was awful and by the time the race started, it got even worse.
I think it has been the race with the most horrible weather I ever ran. By 6.55 we were ready to go. The previous night a friend of mine asked: “Did you pay money to wake up early on Sunday morning raining, windy and freezing? you´re crazy” Well I think it´s the best way to escape from your comfort zone and do something different, challenge your body and discover all the potential we have inside.. you´re going to be surprised how far you can go and how many limitations are part of our mind, a break up with the sedentary life.
6.59 – They gave a small speech with all the instructions and Happy Xmas to all and Goooo!! The race started and I tried to be in the front of the group, it was still dark and you couldn´t see much going down, the downhill was full of water and people everywhere, 720 of them. I was running with Carlos, Adrian and Eric everyone owned their own pace. Carlos at the front, of course and I was behind him trying to keep up with his pace but it was impossible.
On the first 5km I was feeling quiet good and confident going with a good pace, the other 5km were a little bit harder but I managed to keep it up. I reached the 10km on 36m.58sec, but after the first water station I was not feeling that confident and strong anymore. Previously, I was fighting against the wind to join a group of 5 guys that were in front of me, but I couldn´t reach them. Their pace was too high for me.
The mental fight started on the 11th km thinking that you´ve only 6 more to the finishing line. I was starting to enter in Pieta and Msida Marina areas where I run quiet often and I was struggling with my pace. I was entering in a stage of mental comfort where I was losing the pace. Half of my mind was fighting and the other half pulling from the rope to come back to an aerobic state. The area of Gzira and Sliema ferries I ran all the way alone against the wind. I was thinking that hopefully in the other part of the strand it´ll be better, but it was even worse :).
Last km pushed to 100% and finished in Spinola with Carlos, Eric and Adrian well done guys! And my girlfriend thanks for the great support. Almost the same time as last year 1h:07: 28 one more minute after 2 months without racing , I can´t complain. Next big target is Barcelona Marathon in March and target below 3 hours.