La Pla des Oliviers, Marquixanes
Marquixannes is a little village about a half hour drive away from Casteil. La Pla des Oliviers is a unit housing people with a variety of learning difficulties enabling them to be purposeful members of society enjoying as much independence as possible whilst providing them with the support they need. It is part of the Val de Sournia association, established in 1981 to provide support for those with a variety of needs which mean that they are unable to do paid work.
Each year La Pla des Oliviers organise a day of trail running. The day is designed to provide some running experience for everyone: a 2km course for those who wish to be taken in an adapted chair or who want a shorter course, four junior courses for children from 8 to 15 years of age and a 12km trail race with 500m of climb. The final feel of the day was one of inclusion and it was lovely to share experiences of the different races with all the finishers.
I had had a good 6 weeks of solid training behind me, albeit not all of this in mountainous terrain due to a period of work in Britain. For the first time in a while I felt confident that I had been able to train with some consistency and my functional threshold power had gone up, which was a good sign.
Whilst most of the climb is in the first 3km of this race, it’s a little deceiving as there is then a period of around 8km of undulating terrain, all nicely runnable, but going too hard on that first climb can cost dearly.
The leading woman was fast, I did not see her for the whole race, but second lady was tantalisingly close; on each climb I closed the gap slightly, but on each descent she sailed seemingly easily away; I cursed my poor down hill skills and decided this was a day to try and keep third place and made a mental note to work on my descending.
Once again the beautiful cameraderie of running struck me as the kind motivating words of a total stranger running for another club helped me finish strong and amazingly keep that third place. This was one of those satisfying races where I felt I could and did give my all.
A special thanks to the residents of La Pla des Oliviers for making our prizes!