Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Volta a Cidade 6K Race Recap

Cross off run an international road race off of my running bucket list.

I ran the Volta a Cidade 6K race in Funchal, Portugal over the Christmas holidays. I'd link to the race website, but it is all in Portuguese.

Never heard of Funchal? Most people haven't. How about Madeira Island? Most people on this side of the Atlantic haven't heard of that either. Funchal is the main city on Madeira Island in the Atlantic. But I bet you have heard of Madeira wine. Mmmm, Madeira wine.

This is Madeira. I like it so very much. It also doesn't hurt that the temperature is between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It is very mountainous but also very pretty.
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Volta a Cidade roughly means "tour of the city." What a nice tour of the city we had. The race started at 8pm. Running at night! Cool. It was a few days after Christmas, so all of the Christmas lights were up. Funchal does a good job of decorating for Christmas. Colored lights in trees. Lit up snowmen, presents, and angels. A big Nativity display. Booths selling food, drinks, and other things.

The entry fee was 5 euros (about $7). It was a no-brainer even-if-I-have-to-walk-this-is-still-a-bargain decision to enter the race. I was not in racing shape. Or, I was not even close to the racing shape I was in a year ago. I didn't really have a time goal (other than around 30 minutes). It was going to be an instant PR in a distance that I will never run again.

It was chip timed but only by gun time. I estimated I lost about 45 seconds just to get to the start line. There weren't a lot of women. I'd say the split was 90% men and 10% women. For a very mountainous area, the course was pretty flat. Most of it near Funchal's crescent-shaped harbor. Part of the race is on cobblestone streets. You have to be very careful when running on cobblestones. Especially if you are coming back from an injury.

I snuck in a just barely under my 30-minute goal. Yay. Go me.

If you ever find yourself in Funchal after Christmas, run this race. This was a really fun experience. For 5 euros, you really can't go wrong. Everyone got a T-shirt and a medal. I wasn't even expecting a T-shirt, no less a medal as well. I liked running through the streets with all of the Christmas lights up. I would definitely run this race again.

None of these pictures are actually from the race, but many are along the course.

Street decorations
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Angels in front of the cathedral
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Lit-up trees. Pretty sure this actually was on the course.
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Booths and lights
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