Well done to Kevin Burnett who has just returned to the UK following his epic run in this year’s Cyprus Challenge:
The Cyprus challenge is a 4 day running event normally with the Race HQ based in the Coral Bay beach resort hotel about 7 miles from Paphos. The event is co-hosted by Arena Sports and 2.09 events.
The 4 events consist of a 6k time trial where competitors are set off at ten second intervals, an 11k hill climb, a trail half marathon and finally a road 10k. It attracts runners from all over Europe however mostly are British and include service personnel based on the island. This year, which was the 13th running of this tough challenge, there were 220 entries which apparently was more than have entered in the previous 12 years.
Newquay Road Runner (NRR) Kevin Burnett first completed the challenge in 2010 did it again in 2012 and 2014 after which he promised himself to take on the challenge one more time.
The 6k starts at sea level on the beach by the event HQ, in previous years runners have set off by alphabetical order of surname however this year it was number order, Kevin was 186 thus his run started just over 30 minutes after the first runner. Apart from the short climb from sea level to the front of the hotel this run is pretty flat. Kevin finished in 33.06 which he was reasonably happy with as it was slightly quicker than his time in 2014.
The following day was the 11k hill climb which goes from sea level to a height of 600 metres, the course had changed from previous years although the start and finish were the same. Apart from the very odd flat section the course climbs all the way to 6k, there is a downhill section of one kilometre before climbing again leading up to the finish in the very pretty village of Pano Arodes. Kevin was quite happy to have finished this run in 1 hour 23 minutes, apart from the last 1.5k the course is off road.
The third day was the trail half marathon which again had changed from previous years, in fact it was the third different course that Kevin had done in the 4 years he had competed. Most of the first 4.5k was uphill followed by downhill to about 8k the remainder of the run was on a gently undulating trail near to sea level. Things went very wrong for him on the half marathon as Kevin stumbled on something at about 5k and fell heavily but bounced back up with a grazed elbow, both knees were also badly damaged. However he soon got back into his stride and up to 16k was still on for his target time of 2 hours 10 minutes. Shortly after the final drinks station at 16k he caught his foot on a rock and went down with quite some force which made his existing grazes much worse he also managed to scrape the other elbow too. Kevin didn’t realise until after the run but had also ripped his shorts, not a pretty sight.
He managed to wash off the grit etc before setting off again, despite being very shaken but he bravely struggled home in just under 2 hours 15 minutes. One of the local organisers took one look at his injuries and went off to get a Doctor who cleaned up the cuts, however he had to bandage the left knee as Kevin had lost quite a lot of skin from the knee cap.
The fourth and final day saw the 10k in Paphos starting and finishing close to the harbour, as a result of the previous days misfortunes, Kevin was still feeling a bit battered and had a word with the medics who advised him to take it easy, however, they added that If he fell apart they would stick him back together again. Kevin took their advice and took it relatively easy around the course finishing bravely in 61 minutes.
Kevin’s original plan was to finish with a combined time of 5 hours which after the first 2 days was definitely achievable however the 2 bad falls put paid to him achieving his goal. His final time was 5 hours 12 minutes, a brilliant achievement when one considers what he had been through. His main priority after finishing was to get his various wounds attended to once more. Despite all the trials and tribulations Kevin advised “I would definitely recommend this event to any one who wants a running holiday, be warned though it does not come cheap with an entry fee of 175 euros”.