Funchal Half-Marathon, 22nd January 2023
Michael Teasdale escaped the freezing Newcastle temperatures for a bit of winter sun- and a warm weather half-marathon. He has sent us this race report – sounds like a good run (as long as you can look the other way when passing the tribute to a certain Portuguese footballer!).
“In November last year Melissa and I were looking at booking a holiday to Madeira in 2023. At the same time I was looking at options for getting a half marathon in my legs early in the year. As it turned out, it was possible to combine the two.
Fast forwarding to January, I made a point of picking up my race number up from Funchal Town Hall at the first opportunity, and ended up asking one of the Portuguese the European Masters Championship team to explain the course (without initially realising he was a member of said team). On parting I wished him luck for the race, to which he replied “have fun”. Our differing levels of competitiveness summed up right there!
I arrived in time to see the mini marathon (8km run) set off. The marathon runners were already on the course, and had been for the last hour. We set off half an hour later, and it was certainly a bit strange to be merging into the course alongside the marathon runners, who had 5 laps of the top loop to complete compared to our 2.
It was in the 2nd lap of the top loop that I started to feel the dragging inclines as we passed many of the larger hotels, but I knew once I was past the 11km mark it was downhill from there. The transition section of the course took us down through the old town and onto the sea front, where we were met with the first bit of breeze on what had up to then been a warm, still morning. Fatigue started to set in towards the end of the first lap of the bottom loop, which took us over a long stretch of cobbles. Madeiran cobbles are something else, almost like a pebble beach, and many runners (myself included) opted for the pavement.
After passing the Cristiano Ronaldo museum and hotel (seriously) on the right for the second time, I just had enough for a bit of a kick approaching the finish and came across the line in 2:02:59.
I enjoyed the whole experience; witnessing the opening ceremony the previous evening, being one of 1,400 overseas runners in a field of 1,800, and the local music at the start line and along the course.”