Christmassy Gran Canaria

My first time on the Canary Islands. I really expected a touristy, busy craziness, especially for Christmas but we were lucky to be staying a little off the beaten track in a place called Pasito Blanco. This is in the south of Gran Canaria, not far from Maspalomas. The weather was a lovely 21 degrees most days with a stiff breeze keeping things cool. This suited us nicely as apart from eating, relaxing and some drinking we were able to go for runs and exercise as well. I definately can’t do the sunlounger holiday, but luckily Emma’s family were happy to get active as well and I could sneak off for a run when ever suited. Emma and her sister Frida were delighted to go for runs and hikes as well.

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Gran Canaria really is a hub for the adventure racer or multi sport racer in particular. It is famous for it’s road biking routes with gruelling hills up to the middle of the island and then these mountains are perfect for the mountain runners out there. There were literally thousands of cyclists taking on the hills. The beaches and sand dunes are ideal for running and I was lucky enough to try everything bar the road biking  That will be for another holiday!

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We ran every day bar one, I think. I didn’t really follow my running too carefully as I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. We ran some 5-7k’s and one day a 13k, including some dunes thrown in. I even managed a hill interval session one morning for my troubles!

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Anyone with dunes in their backyard is lucky. It is some training session to run a few kilometres across these. The best thing is the lack of impact. I managed to get into the dunes three times while there and could spend all day up there, sprinting down the steep hills and then dragging myself up the other side. The Salomon S-labs are perfect for the terrain on the island, mostly hard ground. The are very few shoes that can take on the dunes!

The last two days of the holiday we hit for the mountains. I was amazed by the views. The long winding roads brought us from sea level up to 1250 metres where we found our hostel in a village called Artenara. I heard from the hostel owner that a Lituanian guy that won the Trans Gran Canaria Ultra the year before had lived and trained in the same hostel. Some feat to run 125 kilometres over these mountains. The tallest is Pico de la Nieves at 1949 metres. We arrived in the afternoon and did a hike up a nearby mountain to get a feel for the area. On our second day we hiked a tough undulating 25 kilometres, up to 1750 metres and as far as a town called La Culata and back. This town was just at the base of Roque Nublo, a famous mountain in the area. The trails were well used and marked and navigation was easy. The pictures below tell a bit of the story. The views really were world class.

I would highly recommend these mountains for a trail running holiday. There are big runnable sections along the ridges and lots of ascent and descent for training. I will definately consider going back to this area to train in the coming years as flights can be cheap at certain times of the year. The food in the restaurants along the coast was amazing and on Christmas day we treated ourselves to a dinner in a place called Labrador, close to Maspalomas. The food was top class! When the smoked fish starter comes out actually still smoking you know your in for a treat. The wine was amazing.

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I was actually there!

 

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