Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Running for pleasure

I've never been very sporty. Mr Liddington made it clear in end of term reports that he didn't like my approach to rugby, Christopher should not try to hide as far away from the play as possible, to cricket, Christopher would do better if he were not afraid of the ball and to hockey, Christopher does not play hockey well. So, despite my attempts to embrace Spanish customs, I have yet to go to a football match a handball or basketball game or even join a gym.

A couple of years ago I noted a report of the TV news about the San Silvestre Vallecana and indeed about lots of other San Silvestres. I didn't know what they were talking about. I could see runners but the report sort of took it for granted that we all knew what a San Silvestre was. With my usual disregard for things sporty I forgot all about it as soon as the next programme came on.

There is a San Silvestre event in Pinoso tomorrow starting at 5pm so I thought I should find out exactly what one is. From the comfort of the sofa Wikipedia tells me it was the Brazilians, in Sao Paulo, that came up with the idea of a race that started one year and ended the next. The date, 31st December, Saint Sylvester's day, must have made choosing a name easy enough.

I thought it was probably a cross country race, mainly because the Pinoso event has cross in the title, but a bit of Googling suggests that most of them, and there are over 200 run in Spain, are 10km road races. I have no idea why the Pinoso event is on the 30th, if the tradition is the 31st, but there must be some good reason.  It's 5km too rather than 10km but that I fully understand.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry about the event in Madrid it's interesting that the field has always been pretty international with lots of British wins back in the 1970s, a series of Spanish successes in the late 1990s and early noughties but that recently it has been the Ethiopians and Kenyans who have dominated. Actually a British woman called Gemma Steel was the first woman home in the 2014 event. Nearly 40,000 people run the race which is about the same number as run the London Marathon though, clearly, 10 km doesn't compare with 42 and a bit kilometres.

I suppose the majority of the runners in the Spanish events, logically enough, will be Spaniards so they couldn't be doing with a race that took up too much of the evening. Obviously they'll need to get in a quick post race beer with their friends, get back to the family for the evening meal and be ready to pop those twelve grapes int their mouths along with the chimes of the clock in Puerta del Sol at midnight before getting out again for a bit of celebrating.

Mr Liddington made a funny sort of snorting noise when he saw me run but I don't suppose he'd have minded that I'll be spectating tomorrow. He'd probably presume that I'm not going to run because I've got a note from my mum.

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