Deka - Tenerife 2023 by Phil

Well, as I sit here at the start of my journey to Dallas for the DekaFit World Championships, I thought it would be a good time to report back on my recent Deka adventure in Tenerife.


Having dipped my toe in the Deka pond in Madrid back in July, I was looking forward, with some trepidation, to going for a Trifecta. In this case that would mean completing 3 events, Deka Fit, Mile and Strong, in what was to be one long day. 


For a healthy youngster that might not even be considered difficult, but for an ageing 66 year old, there was a bit of fear of the unknown. 


My start times were 9.05, 19.20 and 21.05. A long day, and as it turned out, in an unusually hot 30c in November. Unlike other Deka events, this was outdoors. 


In preparation for the event I went for a recce on the Friday. The location at Top Training in La Caleta was easy to get to and only 20 mins on the bus from Playa de la Americas where I was staying.


I had been a run on the Friday morning at about the time I was to be running on the Saturday. The easy run caused me some concern for the next day, as by the end my heart rate was sky high and it felt so hot. Not a cloud in the sky and already 26c.


The set up for the event was fabulous. The Top Training cafe overlooked the battle ground. The Deka crew were all there still putting together the final touches for the next day. I got chatting to a young lady who had helped me out with a small problem with my entry ticket the week before - I had apparently completed it with my wife as the competitor 不. She had very kindly and quickly fixed it within about 3 hours of me e-mailing on the previous  Saturday afternoon. 


I just happened to mention about the heat. As luck would have it, I was immediately offered a space in the first wave at 8.00. Fab! Sorted!


I had the bus sorted out for the morning, but it would mean an early start. 


However, earlier in my trip I had noticed that one of my online Hyrox senior buddies, Stuart Chorley, had posted that he had arrived in Tenerife for a holiday. I asked if he was there for Deka, but he had known nothing about it. He then entered Fit on the Friday and we arranged to travel by taxi to the venue 不不. We were there at 6.30 and the gates didn’t open until 7.00.

The whole event was great. There was a fairly large UK contingent, including a group as you would expect from the Forders Gym travelling army. I also met up with Wendy Williams who had been one of my relay partners at the recent Hyrox champs in Birmingham. She was over on holiday for a couple of weeks and had booked in to do Fit. 


I started at the back of 8, in what was I think the 2nd or 3rd group of the 8 o’clock wave. The sun was just starting to get up and so initially it wasn’t too bad. However by the time I finished it was getting quite hot. I felt really sorry for Stuart, who at 71, was probably likely to be the oldest competitor on the day, and he was having to start at 11.45. By then it was absolutely roasting, and so for him it was to be a tortuous run in the heat from the very start. 


My target was to improve on Madrid and hopefully get under 50 mins. Running on the grass was not the best for speed, and I was also conscious of needing to keep something back to ensure I lasted the day. I finished in 51.21, so that was ok. That was a marker for the 2024 season, which this was the beginning of. hopefully it would also be sufficient to qualify me for the World’s later next year. 


The difficulty was what then to do until my next event some 10 hours later. Spectating in the heat became quite difficult, as it was so so hot. They had gazebos that people gathered under, but I kept wanting to watch and see how folk were getting on. As I said. Stuart went out in the midday sun. I had to take break and I was able to have a leg massage done, which were being given for free by a group of guys who were from Santa Cruz. Much appreciated. 


Although Deka do 5 year age groups, when it comes to the awards they effectively put all the 60 plus together. As the fastest 65-69 I was actually faster than the winner of 60-64. I therefore took first place, with the 60-64 winner taking second, and so Stuart, who was the fastest over 70, took third place. Not bad considering his spur of the moment last minute entry and no prep, apart from 3 beers on the Friday night 不不. Wendy took first place in her age category 55-59 and so that would be likely to qualify her for the World Champs in 2024 if she fancied a trip to the States. 


Before the awards’ ceremony I had time to grab some food. Stuart was able to enjoy a couple of beers in the shade. Later I was also able have a protein shake up at the cafe, before the night time events. 


Thankfully by the time the Mile started the sun was down. What a difference. It was a great event. Instead of 8 x 500 metres it was only once round and so only 160 metres approx- hence the Mile. It was great. The runs didn’t turn into plods and you were into the functional sections very quickly, with just enough time to get your body and mind prepared. It therefore passed fairly quickly. My target had been 30 mins. My watch in fact stopped at 30.01. On the night my time appeared as 29.59, but was later corrected to 30 mins bang on 不. Happy with that.


I then had about 30 mins to get ready for Strong, which was simply what had been the Fit and Strong , but without the running. The barriers separating the functional segments were simply stripped away and you moved as quickly as you could from one to another. Because of that, in the official timings, you got no splits for the different functions, as the timing mats were not in operation. However I clocked 20.57 against my rough target time of 20 mins. 


It remains to be seen if my Mile and Strong times will be good enough to qualify me for the Worlds, which is why I have entered all three events in Madrid in July 2024 already, to try and improve my times. By then I will hopefully have a better idea of what will be needed to qualify.

Ultimately Deka Tenerife was an absolutely fantastic event. Well organised and great fun in a fantastic location, what could be better than combining a relaxing few days in the sun with a little bit of exercise. 


Deka is actually far more fun than Hyrox. It gives you a decent challenge without knackering you and leaving you needing 3 weeks to recover. You can incorporate it into your schedule for Hyrox, without disrupting it. If you do the blue ribbon event Fit, then that is still a tough test, but if you are training for Hyrox then the Trifecta is certainly doable for most reasonably fit people. Having said that, there were not many on the day who bagged all three. At least one guy from the UK actually did 4, as there was a team event as well. 


Go on. Give it a try and I will see you in Tenerife next November. The 2024 dates came out the following day and so I was booked in before I even returned home

About the author 

Phil Cunningham

2.28 marathon runner (1985). 15.14 5k (1989).

Gym bunny since 2012. 

Dabbled in OCR since 2016 (Total Warrior, Spartan, Tough Viking)

Hyrox AG winner Malaga 2023. Hyrox World Championship 2023.


Follow Phils Exploits on twitter at @weephil228