Tony ‘El Torero’ Carter fills his boots before taking another mighty scalp in the bid to be Europe’s most travelled TBH runner
A little more than 2 weeks ago I made my way to Seville to start an internship. Before going, when I was looking for clubs in the area, I had found out about this race. I soon forgot where I had found the link until a few days before the race, and as there was only four hours until entries closed. So I entered for it straight away, putting down a predicted time of 35 minutes, thinking with the way my training was going and having had to pull out before the start of the previous week’s Alnwick XC from a niggle I would be getting around that time.
I had to go to collect the number the day before the race at a shopping centre outside of Seville, so I was about to abandon the race not knowing how to get there, but then I had found the Seville metro goes there and promptly collected my number, somehow managing to get it with my limited Spanish and the volunteers’ limited English.
On race day, after having in hindsight a bit too much for breakfast, I jogged the two kilometres to the start area. Luckily it was cool and a bit breezy so that it wouldn’t be as hot for the race. The race started not far from the Plaza de España in Maria Lucia Park, which made it a great place to warm up and has featured in many films including Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars Episode I and II. I also saw many clubs not just from Seville, but from nearby areas like Cadiz, Granada and Huelva too, as well as some American students, British tourists and obviously locals who just wanted to do the run.
The race started at 9.30 going out from the park and along the extremely smooth road closed off for the race by the river, passing a couple of Seville’s landmarks the Torre del Oro and the Bullring for the first third of the race. The race began quickly and I started in around the top 30, holding my self back to 5.20 minute/mile pace so I didn’t get carried away with the rest of the race. As the race progressed to the second kilometre after challenging the course’s only uphill part in an underpass, I was working my way through the race into the top 20.
By the third kilometre, I had ran just over ten minutes, and I quickly calculated that I was on course for a PB, so I kept at it. On the way to the 5th kilometre turning right from the river, along the old city walls and past the Andalusian parliament, I passed a few more runners (including someone vomiting by the 4th kilometre marker) and was pushing the pace to sub 5.20 pace and a 5k time of 16.42, only 10 seconds off my pace when I got my 10km PB. Now heading back to the park and the finish, breakfast caught up with me by the 6th kilometre and so did a runner who I caught not long ago. I was fortunate to recover from the stitch quickly and soon got back up to pace as well as leaving the runner behind my tracks.
The final 3 kilometres went around Maria Lucia Park before finishing in the park itself, and I knew I had a PB if I could run the final 3 kilometres as I did the first 3. I managed to catch one more runner before setting sights on two others. By the 9th kilometre, I gave it my all, managing to surprise the two runners with an acceleration in pace. That is, before breakfast caught up with me again. I managed to slightly recover going into the park and the finishing straight. I was able to see the finishing line and the race time counting ever so closer to my PB, so I went almost literally all guts out and pushed it to the finish.
I finished in 14th place in a time of 33.25, a new 10km PB. But not long after that, breakfast had caught up to me and so I dashed off to the side and had to vomit it out. One of the volunteers ran up to see if I was okay and asked if I wanted water, but I said I was fine and just needed a moment, but insisted that I should go see a race medic. Once I got my breath back, I saw some runners finishing not far behind me and congratulated each other, and it’s great to see the sportsmanship here is just as good as it is back home. Overall, even if there wasn’t much in spectators, it was a very enjoyable race over closed roads around the historical centre of Seville.