With the Ryanair flight carrying most of our contingent delayed, the EasyJet team of 8, plus those lucky enough to have come a few days early, took one for the team and tested out the resort. We were pleased to share with the weary Ryanair travellers that indeed the sun was shining, the sunbeds were comfy and the pool a little chilly! Some could even attest to the refreshing quality of the beer and Aperol!
With everyone finally arrived and settled in we gathered in the foyer, some for a saunter along the beach front, others to make the most of the sunshine on the beach. I joined the runners, and we enjoyed a casual, if a little warm run along the beautiful sea front, followed by a well-deserved swim in the sea, which fortunately was significantly warmer than the pool!
After a fab dinner in the hotel, we were all excited to learn of the roof top bar, offering a beautiful view across the bay, as well as some beverages to toast the weekend with. With all 42 of us in attendance, a photo was a challenge the kind waiter took very seriously, balancing on the wall to get us all in, and the bar tab complicated to say the least! However, I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a brilliant night!
Some dedicated souls took to the sea front at 7:30 for a run the following morning, discovering to their chagrin that it was in fact still dark! The rest of us took the opportunity for a lie-in ahead of the next day’s early start. A trip into town on the bus (featuring some scrabbling around for euros – apparently buses in Palma don’t take card!) and the expo, followed by some culture and sightseeing for some, and a beer and some lunch for others before everyone gradually trickled back to the hotel, the pool and making the most of the sunshine! A brief perusal of Strava gave us all a moment of pride for Sarah Hamblin, due to take on the Palma marathon but unable to make the trip had accomplished an amazing solo marathon back home in 3:41 in aid of St. Oswald’s hospice (https://www.justgiving.com/page/sarah-hamblin-palma-2023).
Alarms rang throughout the hotel at 5am and we all trudged down for a subdued breakfast. With Ian and I planning to run to the start, at 6:30 we loaded everyone onto the bus, with Lucas accidentally choosing to make new friends with the German contingent from our hotel and causing some panic on the English bus in his absence! As we set off for the sea front, we were quite surprised to find a light rain, but carried on regardless…. as it got heavier and heavier and suddenly, we were running through ankle deep water! Meanwhile on the bus, our TBH friends were pulled over and waiting out the worst of the rain, but I’m told were thinking of us!
When we all arrived, we found that unsurprisingly the race start had been pushed back an hour, which amazingly was enough time for significant flooding to drain away, and for me to get very cold! It did give ample opportunity for further warm up miles and team photos, as well as some last-minute trips to the loo – through hefty queues.
The race finally got underway, and with the out and back first 8 miles, it will truly be one of my favourite races, with so many opportunities to spot black and white vest and call out to TBH friends ahead, behind and even in the 9km race. In fact, I did hear that someone commented on the sheer number of TBH present, and how much shouting for each other we had been doing. After the race and some risqué changing using Zoe’s coat we made our way to the bar – and for the second time that day got absolutely soaked!
At this point the only TBH still out on course was Lucas Riley, bravely taking on his first marathon, in both sunshine and torrential rain. Despite having celebrated with a few beers, we showed out in force to cheer Lucas on in his last few miles, and I think he should be very proud of his first, somewhat challenging, marathon! There are too many brilliant results to mention here, in fact I’m told TBH were the largest club in attendance, with the winning average time! But Angelo gets a special mention for taking on a half marathon on his birthday! And even making it a PB! And Zak Kettle absolutely smashed it with a podium finish coming 4th overall in the 9km (I assure you it is his trophy, not Steve’s!).
Back at the hotel, the competitive spirit reared its head again with some serious swimming races! And a few more drinks, before heading out for our celebratory dinner, with everyone almost unrecognisable out of sweaty running kit and dressed up for the occasion – I won’t mention that those of us who were a little late got left behind!
An Italian feast, a few toasts to the amazing results and an announcement of member of the month for August for a well-deserved Stephen Kettle later and the discussion turned to where next? Now what I haven’t mentioned is that right near our hotel, were two rather large German beer halls, which our illustrious leader Ian had a bit of a fascination with, so it was not surprising that this is where we ended up – it was an experience to say the least, and after a drink we reconvened at the hotel bar, where much chatting and laughing ensued.
The final day was a much quieter one, with a few sore heads – I won’t name names! However, a walk along the seafront, a coffee and for some of us a final dip in the sea before we sadly had to head back to the airport.
Overall, I have to say, and I hope all that went will agree, it was a truly special weekend, with so much laughter and TBH spirit. Brilliant runs were had, friendships were made and cemented and there was even a little romance…
I honestly can’t wait for the next one!