Runners, Riders and Those Who Sit in Bars

On Sunday we fancied a walk and so headed into town after finishing a few chores. We planned to promenade along the front, but as we left the marina we could see throngs of numbered runners threading their way in and out of the El Nautico marina yard. As we reached the highway a police car blocked the road and we were passed by cyclists whizzing by on very slick looking machines. We followed their route on the pavement and at one point passed a woman and a small boy yelling encouragement to a determinedly pedaling dad. He managed to lift his hand briefly and grin an acknowledgement before he was past, the woman risking life and limb to snap him on her phone. As we walked on we were first passed by the woman and child, jogging in the cyclists wake, and then found them at a barrier poised to watch the runners. From the logos on the official vests we realized the cyclists must come in from thrashing round the paddy fields of the delta, trade in their bikes and then set off running along a convoluted route round the docks, out along the prom and then back for a final round of the marina. We arrived at the finish just in time for the winning man to come in, high fiving the official and crossing the line in just over four hours to tumultuous applause.

This was no small local event, the runners easily numbering in double figures. Even the spectators looked amazingly fit. People must have come in from miles around to produce so many honed young people in the middle of Sant Carles. Undeterred the local senior citizens were out in their Sunday best for their customary stroll along the front. We stood for a while just past a watering station watching the runners go by, hurling half empty water bottles at the bin. A young man was trying to retrieve rolling bottles before they could trip someone, whilst shepherding sedate groups of promenaders across the race. It looked a thankless job. Rather than add to his misery we decided to give up on our own idea of walking along the front and headed back up into town to sit in the square with a couple of cold beers.

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