Audrey Elliott recounts her Ecotrail Valencia experience – she is well ensconsed in the Ecotrail Community now and plans to travel to Copenhagan for the first edititon of Ecotrail there too! We will look forward to that report too.
Ecotrail Valencia was my third race in the Ecotrail series. We arrived 2 days before and settled into a nice apartment in the city centre. We were careful to not overdo the sightseeing and opted for a handy e-scooter tour of the city which we booked on Air BnB Experiences. This was a lovely 2 hour session that brought us to the main tourist spots in the city. It’s a great way to see a city if you don’t have too much time.
Race time was 5pm, so it felt like we were waiting around all day to do it. Previous races were earlier in the day. I’d imagine the reason is that the temperature cools down as it was around 23 degrees. I opted for the 20km race but found out two days before that it was actually 21.75km. I know it’s only about 2km more but it played on my mind! It was a warm evening and the insects were about at the start location as it was in the middle of a nature reserve. There was a nice atmosphere with approximately 80 competitors at the start line. I noticed a woman also wearing an Ecotrail Wicklow t-shirt. Unfortunately, I never got to chat to her but it was nice to see that the Ecotrail event was becoming a community.
The start was a slight uphill on road but a few minutes later we were on a trail and it was that way right throughout the race. I felt like I was in a western movie at one stage with the amount of blow back from the dirt tracks. It was exciting. The trail was generally flat but it did have steep sections. The trail encompassed many foot bridges that crossed over what was once a river. However, serious floods from 1957 resulted in the river being diverted and a lot of unused land left below.
Saying that, as you run closer towards the city, the redevelopment is spectacular. They land where the river was is made up of football pitches, running tracks, tennis courts, playgrounds, exhibition, and event centres and so much more. It is a fantastic facility for people of all ages and must encourage people to be more active. The race had 2 stops, at 8km there was a food and water stop and at 16km there was a water stop. As I got closer to the finish line it was getting much darker but the route was lit up. Getting closer and closer the sense of excitement was building and I could hear drums and finisher names being called out. I was so relieved to get to the finish line as I did find the temperature very warm. I was meet with smiling faces and a medal presented over my head. There was food and drinks at the end and also a finisher t-shirt.
I have to say I’m extremely delighted with the t-shirt, it has a lovely design and very good quality. I was proud to wear it the following day. The next day we celebrated and I think was in bed by 6pm! I think the next Ecotrail race I will do is the inaugural Ecotrail Copenhagen. I’m already looking at flights and itching to go!