I’ve already said that I’m not willing to travel far, far away for shorter races. But when it comes to the big 26.2, I’m willing to go the distance. I figure that I if I’m going to train for months to run a full marathon, I have to take advantage of the fact that I’m in Europe, and go wherever the best races are. I’ve been scoping out a few possibilities. Here’s what I’ve locked eyes with so far:
Berlin Marathon – September – I would have done this race this past September in a heartbeat. Alas, I had no idea when I was moving to Germany until a few weeks out. (Not nearly enough time to get a jump on registration or training.) This has been my dream race ever since I visited Berlin last summer. The course is flat, Berlin has great roads (read: hopefully minimal, if any, cobblestone), and you get to run around all of the country’s best landmarks. Did I mention that this race has one of the fastest marathon finishing times in the world? Yeah, that’s cool.
Caen Marathon de la Liberte – June – This race is known by some as the D-Day Landings Marathon as its course passes many of the sights associated with the invasion of 1944. In fact, half of the race is run along Juno and Sword beaches. If two things I love could be combined into one (running and military history) they would be this race! The elevation chart makes me want to throw-up a little, but I think the idea of running in such a historically significant place overrules course difficulty. Plus, this is known as one of France’s most beautiful races, so when I’m in great pain during the marathon, I would just slow down and enjoy the scenery.
Swiss Alpine Marathon – July – Nobody can argue that Switzerland is a feast for the eyes. Another thing no one would argue about Switzerland? It’s hilly! Thankfully, this race offers two options: C42 and K42. K42 is a marathon beast. It starts at 10:30 am and the course is open until 9 pm. I’m guessing runners need that large time frame because this has them running up and down like nobody’s business. K42 has the highest elevation of any European marathon. I don’t think I’m hardcore enough for that, so I’d opt for C42. The “C” stands for culture. As in, you stay out of the mountains and run around the cultural sites of town. Way more my speed! I want to look at the pretty mountains in the distance and run on the flat ground.
Midnight Sun Marathon – June – This 26.2 takes place is Tromso, Norway. It starts in the evening, but you run in broad daylight because Tromso is so far north that the sun doesn’t set from May to July. I don’t think there is any other race in the world that can claim that!
It is with big old tears that I have to accept that I won’t be running any of these any time soon. (My heart cries for Berlin 2013! I really thought I’d get to run that one!) Because we’ll be exiting Germany in May, every one of these is out. Fear not! I am determined to run 26.2 while I’m in Europe, so I’m not giving up yet. Sure, I won’t get to run along the D-Day beaches or under the midnight sun of Norway, but there is a race out there for me. I will find it, and run it!*