We landed in Gran Canaria on Tuesday and had a couple of days for sightseeing and easy runs before the race. We stayed in an AirBnB in Fataga, a small village in the mountains. The location and the house was a perfect fit for us. Usually we’ve had someone to crew us but this time all four were there to run. I took part in the TGC Classic (128km) and the rest were on the Marathon. The route starts from Las Palmas in the north, zigzags through the island and ends at the Faro lighthouse in the southern city of Maspalomas. Marathon was the last 42km of the same route. One of the best things on this trip was the crew I was traveling with. No matter how the race would turn out, I’d have a nice holiday with my friends!


The start is at the Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas. Once we got there it was already full of people and I immediately found my race mood that had been missing 🙂 Right before the start they played the beginning of the Gran Canaria - Los Gofiones and I gotta admit it really works there! This year’s TGC theme was “trail is female” and the elite women were on the front of the pack at the start. Pretty cool! Last seconds were counted and off we took with fireworks somewhere in the background. It was nice to see that so many had gathered to cheer on the beach and streets. The first kilometers were through the city and I had time to go through a mental checklist; do I have the right clothing, is the vest balanced okay and how are my legs feeling? How would the terrain change once we got out of the city?

Running in the darkness

From the back of the pack where I started I could see a long, slowly moving trail of lights in ahead. I decided to take it easy, there would be plenty of time to go faster. After going up and down for a while we got the first aid station. It was a pleasant surprise! Good selection of snacks and Pepsi (which I drank several liters during the race). I stayed there for about 5 minutes and continued.

The night continued to be pretty uneventful in a good way. Running felt good, it wasn’t too cold or hot and I made good progress. This was my first race with poles and I took them from my vest somewhere after 10 km. They proved to be really useful there! Not just on uphills but also on more technical terrain.

There was one special moment on a steep uphill quite early in the race. It was dark yet you could see the profile of a narrow hill. A single track trail through a lush bushes going straight up. Right at the moment I started to ascend I heard a shout maybe a hundred meters behind me and then he started playing drum. It was all quiet besides the constant drumbeat as I moved up the hill.

Gradually it started to get brighter. First I could see the silhouettes of the mountains and soon I was able to switch off my headlamp. For the whole race I did my own thing, I didn’t run with anyone in particular for longer stretches.

The most challenging ascends were between Artenara and Roque Nublo. Here I started to feel the accumulated elevation and the heat was merciless. I took a couple of two minute breaks on windy/shady spots. That helped to cool down my body and I felt a lot better when I started climbing again.

Roque Nublo

Finally I arrived at the Garañon aid station and had my plan set – get the drop bag first, find the charger there and set my Garmin to charge while I do everything else. There was only one guy handing the drop bags and he went over the box that was supposed to have my bag. The cardboard boxes were numbered like 750-800 and after confirming my bib number (771) for third time he proceed to check some random piles of bags. Nothing. At some point he goes and finds someone else and they start looking for it together, both going through the same boxes. After ten minutes or so they gave up, it wasn’t there.

He asked if I need something from the bag and I told the gels were the most important, I had a few left but not enough for the rest of the race. “Sorry, we don’t have gels.” I walked outside and started to make plan b. I wouldn’t be able to continue without energy for that many hours. Maybe my friends finished already and had some spares they could drop at an aid station? Could my stomach handle dates and other dried fruits in bigger portions? As I was typing a message a voluteer came with my bag; they had just misplaced it in a wrong box. I was so relieved and so was he 🙂 A lot of time wasted but as my main goal was to finish I tried not to stress too much about it.

After Garañon there was an uphill and then it was mostly descent from there. The downhills were mostly runnable easy trails and it was slowly getting dark again. Some more technical sections where I slowed down a lot. Just before Hierbahuerto aid station I saw someone who had burned herself pretty bad. She was also out of water so I gave her some, luckily it was just before the aid station so she got there safe. I hope she made it all the way to the finish!

After Ayaguares it was dark again. I started climbing a wide, dusty road with no one else in sight. I assumed the route would go to a trail soon but the road went straight ahead on and on. At some point I noticed some light in the corner of my eye going the opposite direction above me and realized it would be like this for a while. Easy but boring. Eventually I was at the top of the hill and started going down. This time the route took off from the road and the route turned into wide but rocky road.

After the Garañon

I kept playing cat and mouse with some runners. I was slow on technical terrain where they passed me but I was still able to run on easier terrain and I overtook them there. To be honest I was pretty damn cranky on the last section we dubbed “rocky hell” 🙂 I had managed to keep my spirits up for the first 100km or so but I guess I expected this section to easier than it was. It was just stones on top stones. Too technical for me to run although some runners ran through without slowing down at all. It took a bit of time to get used to the terrain. Even then the best I could do was power hiking with poles. This part went on and on and on. They mentioned this section at the info the day before and they promised it eventually ends. With that in mind I decided to get through.

Finally the rocks subsided and the last five or six kilometers were flat and fast. After getting out from the rocky hell I knew there was nothing that could stop me anymore. This was the first ultra where I’ve been able to maintain decent, constant pace for the last kilometers! My spirits lifted again I took over a lot of runners in this section. My legs were feeling good and my slower-than-normal-running-pace felt like I was breaking speed limits!

I started out at the end of the group and made my way up higher slowly but surely. I feel like with some adjustments and having another good day I’d be able so cut a good chunk of time from the end time. That being said, I’m really happy with the race and that all of us reached our goals to finish the race!

Race time 24:17:22, rank 231.