What a joy to be back to Astros! With over 150 athletes signed up for the race, some coming from various foreign countries, the expectation was high and we worked all we could to stand up to it.
The local authorities and community remembered us from 2010 and you could see they were pretty excited by the idea of seeing all these athletes hitting the town again! We felt very welcome. During the preparation stage, it showed by a great level of communication, planfication with the various supports, from police to lifeguards, port authorities, local fishermen (!), hotel owners, restaurants...
Then race week-end arrived and it became much closer. On the Saturday we organised a swim & run for children, aiming to give something back to the Astros-people. The local kids were really excited, especially since our transition area was set up in their school-yard, opposite the sea, they tried to contribute as best as they could. All parents came to watch their kids compete at a race that was very new to them. It felt great to see the interest that was raised, and the enthusiasm of all.
Sunday came with the adults' race and once again the local community showed their support. A drinks station improvised by local people popped up in the middle of the run course!! Needless to say although there were water stations every 1.5km this was very welcome by the athletes.
Spectators gathered around the finish line at mid-day, some of them jumping on the volunteers' side to help man the busy water station, sponge & ice station.
The Mayor team greeted all finishers with a homemade "komboloi" which each bead spelling out the letters of "Astroman" - that was a very touching gesture. They also prepared special gift baskets for the winners. And vowed to continue and improve their support for years to come...
We carried out a post race survey and found out that the race generated a 30.000 Euro income (athletes expenditure on accomodation, food, shopping, etc..). For a small village like Astros, outside the busy tourist season, this is a non-neglectable contribution. And with the perspective of growth for the event, it was all a win-win situation.
Organising a race in this context, with such support and understanding, really came as a relief, in the midst of a 2011 season that was rocky as ever..!