Patrick Kingston in the CxM Sierra Blanca "Destroyer"

It was a big task that Patrick Kingston had ahead of him at the CxM Sierra Blanca where he had some extremely high mountains to scale

When thinking of the reasons why one might want to visit Marbella, running wouldn’t perhaps be the first thing that springs to mind. An opportunity to mingle with the rich and famous might be higher up on the list. The chance the peruse the designer stores might be the temptation for some. Basking in the sunshine and taking in the sights of the harbour at Puerto Banús is always an attraction as well.

Out there visiting a brother who lives in the area, Patrick Kingston also found time for a race. Not just any race though. It was the CxM Sierra Blanca and he was on the start line for the 42.2km “Destroyer” which incorporated 2,800m of ascent. It was not one to be taken lightly with the Cruz de Juanar at 1,164m and the Puerto Las Allanas at 1,075m amongst the daunting peaks he had to face.

It wasn’t as if Patrick was a novice at these types of races though. Last summer he competed in the Nivolet-Revard 55k which was staged in the French Alps. That event included a similar sort of elevation gain as the CxM Sierra Blanca but it was slightly further in distance.

Scenes from the CxM Sierra Blanca

The CxM Sierra Blanca was set to be an epic adventure for Patrick

He’d done some meaty training runs over the Purbeck in preparation for the CxM Sierra Blanca and competed in the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon the weekend before the CxM Sierra Blanca, finishing in 1:28:14. That race has some testing climbs in it, including a very challenging one at the end. That was nothing in comparison to what he would face in the CxM Sierra Blanca though.

The runners gather at the start of the CxM Sierra Blanca

The runners gather at the start of the CxM Sierra Blanca

The climbing started from the get-go and it was a really tough first 16 miles which were mostly uphill and featured some very steep slopes. Patrick didn’t have his poles with him which put him at quite a disadvantage to most of the other runners as they can be used to give you leverage as you work your way up. It didn’t matter though in a way as he was mainly there for the experience and he was certainly getting that.

At nine miles in he reached his first checkpoint, after 2 hours and 4 minutes of running. That was Cerezal and he was in 54th place overall at that stage. Arriving at his next one after 13 miles, he’d now been going for 3 hours 35 minutes and was in 55th place.

The start of the Destroyer race at the CxM Sierra Blanca

The Destroyer race gets underway

The top of the climb on the 15th mile which was the highest point of the race, coming close to 4,000ft. Once there, there was a lot more downhill than uphill for the remainder of the route.

Patrick Kingston in action in the Destroyer race

There were plenty of ups and downs for Patrick to negotiate

The next check point was just over 19 miles in and that was Puerto Marbella. Patrick got there in 5 hours 42 minutes and was in 61st place. There was still a lot of running to do but he was progressing well.

The next time check he saw was the finish line and Patrick arrived in 7 hours 38 minutes and 56 seconds. That put him in 62nd place overall and 29th in his category. A total of 139 runners successfully completed the course with some taking close to 10 hours.

Patrick Kingston heads through the woods

Patrick heads through the woods

The fastest man to negotiate his way from start to finish was Emanuel Vitorino Rolim and he crossed the line in 4 hours 57 minutes and 39 seconds. That put him 4 minutes 32 seconds ahead of Olle Bernades who was 2nd. Chema Romero Palacios was 3rd in 5:11:52.

Ines Marrahi Gomez was the first female to reach the line and she got round in 6:18:59 which put her 14th overall. Anna Kacka was 2nd woman in in 6:34:20 which put her 23rd overall. Ana Cristina Constantin was 3rd lady in 6:43:09 which put her 26th overall.

Patrick Kingston finishes the Destroyer race at the CxM Sierra Blanca

Patrick crosses the line in a chip time of 7 hours 38 minutes and 56 seconds

It was an epic achievement from Patrick just to complete the race really as the climbs were so brutal but he did remarkably well to finish where he did, especially without any poles. His elevation gain for the run came to 9,541ft.

Like the Nivolet-Revard 55k last summer, it was another great experience for Patrick and one that he will no doubt remember and look back fondly on. The aches and pains and stresses and strains will vanish over time but the memories will last a lifetime.