Running with Optimissa
After nearly one year in Spain and one year working for Optimissa I participated in the “Carrera de las Empresas”, which by now with my ‘expert’ grasp of the Spanish language (!) means “Race of the Companies”. I was initially concerned about the ‘race’ part of the event title but was assured that it was a fun event and not competitive. More on that later…
So turning up at the race early on a cold Sunday morning was the first challenge. Everybody had arrived except Matt and Ruben. T-shirts and entry numbers were distributed but no sign of the missing runners. Eventually the race was about to begin so everybody made their way to the start point about 1km from the meeting point. Matt and I were frantically exchanging messages as to where to meet with Matt claiming he was at the start point already. I convinced him to run to the meeting point and then already out of breath he continued with me from the meeting point to the starting point – yes, the place where poor Matt was 10 minutes previously!
Almost straight away we started the run, Matt and myself opting for 10km of pain. We were still missing Ruben….
This was now exciting and a brand new experience for me running through the start/finish line filled with spectators and running alongside thousands of other runners, including one random drunk guy who was probably on his way home from the previous Saturday night!
We started at the back of the pack but almost as soon as we turned into the Castellana, we saw some runners coming back down on the opposite side of the road! So much for a non-competitive race! Matt and I picked up the pace and started (slowly) overtaking the general crowds of runners. Eventually we crossed around Plaza Castilla and came back down the Castellana chatting and generally feeling good about the race, but we had lost track of the rest of the Optimissa team in amongst the thousands of other runners.
Back at the starting point we foolishly followed the pack across the to the finish line which at the last moment we realized that we had missed 4km of our race! We were showing our amateur roots! At the finish line we finally bumped into Ruben, who to our shame started after us and had actually completed the entire 10km! Matt and I backtracked and continued the remaining 4km. The last km was the most painful for me and I pursuaded Matt to run on ahead as he still had some energy left, which was to his credit because he had already ran an extra 2km before the race began! The finish line (the correct 10km finish line) didn’t come a moment too soon and it was exhilarating to cross it and rest.
It was great to run with the other Optimissans and to participate in such a professional event. After the race, Optimissa treated us all to a great breakfast and we could swap stories and contemplate the next events…Madrid marathon anyone?!