CESV on the Crusader Castle
By Claire Lamb
Take over 100 runners, a scorching hot day, stunning scenery, two castles and an abbey and what do you have? An ultra marathon running for 80k from Kantara castle to Bellapais village!
Members of the CESV were delighted to be asked to attend 3 stages of this daunting race, at Alevkayasi, Buffavento castle and the finishing line at Ambelia, Bellapais. The runners also had the support of members of the forest fire fighting crew who were on standby in case tricky terrain had to be negotiated. A big thank you to these men for their help and support. Each runner had to carry essential kit including a torch, mobile, water and some 1st aid essentials. The water had to be sufficient to hydrate them between each of the 7 stages where they could re-fuel! Those starting at the top of Kantara castle also had the prospect of running to the top of Buffavento castle where they had to have a photo taken before descending back down to continue over the mountains to the finishing line.
The team at Alevkayasi were asked to be in position by 10am ready for the 1st of the runners who set off at 5am from Kantara. These amazing runners were known as the Lionhearts and truly deserve that title! Luckily there were no injuries in this stage of the race. This was also the start of the next race run by those known as the Bravehearts. This was also not a race for faint hearts as it covered 27km of incredible terrain following little more than goat tracks in places!
The area considered to be the most problematic for the runners was around Buffavento castle where the CESV team were asked to be in position for 11.30am. As we arrived at the restaurant to meet other team members the 1st runner was making his way up to the check point by the restaurant. We had been warned that he was not feeling too well and may need some assistance. Luckily all that was needed was a sit down, plenty of fluids and some cooling ice before he was back on his feet and off into the mountains.
Once at the foot of the track leading to Buffavento castle members of the CESV set up ready to deal with any casualties and cheer on the runners. The leader was soon in sight ready to climb the rocky path up to the castle. Whilst the Lionhearts and the Bravehearts were continuing their race the Mountain Goats were gathering for the final race of the day – 10k covering the distance from Buffavento to Ambelia, Bellapais. Mahir Dereci – one of the forest fire fighters – blew the whistle to get this 3rd and final race under way. One of the runners reported that he had passed a gentleman who seemed to be in some difficulty after falling and cutting his knee. Two of our members set off along the track to try to get sight of this runner who was walking slowly towards the check point. He was picked up along the road and brought in for our members to attend to until the ambulance arrived. Once in the ambulance he had 3 stitches to a nasty gash to his knee and was out of the race. A couple of minor incidents kept the CESV on their toes and ready for action, none of which resulted in the runners leaving the race.
The final stage at Ambelia, Bellapais was a scene of victory for those who completed their race. The ecstasy of completing the race was mixed with the agony of aching muscles and extreme tiredness in equal measure. The atmosphere was one of joy at completing their race and the banter (as was the beer) was flowing as each person exchanged their own personal highlights and fears. If you would like to know more about this race then go to www.castlesultra.com and if you would like to know more about the work of the CESV then please click here