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Wednesday 6th February – Graham Stead reports from the Pyrenees


After several months out here I have just managed to overcome a re-occurring calf injury so I can at last report on a couple of events.

Firstly on 12th Feb I took part in the Trail de St Valentines, in Odos. A great local event where you can run individually over 27k, as a mixed pair over 15k or as a mixed pair speed walking over 10k.

Still getting over my injuries we opted to have a go at the speed walk. Training consisted of a couple of laps of the garden and watching a YouTube video on walking techniques. On an undulating woodland course what we lacked in walking technique we made up for in our hill-climbing ability, eventually finishing a credible 5th place out of 28 couples. Not sure if walking events qualify for runner of the year though. The winning time was 1.06.20.

On Sunday 4th Feb I did the Trail du Marquisat, in Louey. Again a choice of distances either 18k or 10k in undulating woodland.

I opted for the 10k which turned out to be the least accurately measured 10k I have ever done. On what I thought was a relatively fast course, first and second finished in 43m 4 seconds, and 47m 12 seconds respectively. First overseas runner; Graham Stead of Otley AC in 35th place out of 78 finishers in 1 hour 2m 48 seconds.

The race was followed by the usual fantastic free food and wine spread which the village races in this area pride themselves on.

Before we return to England in time for the Harrogate Road series we have several more trail events to take part in including a local moonlighters event, Le Nouse Trail over 16k or 25k. Night events are taking off big time over here; the last one we tried to enter, Le Trail 31, had a choice of three distances; 12k, 21k or full marathon and was over-subscribed.

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