01 January 2013

End of the year run in Normandy.

End of the year run: Les foulées du bout de l'an, Sourdeval, Normandy, 30 December 2012: 

5.7 km - 28.31 min, +9ºC, generally sunny, clouds, windy. 

We were lucky with the weather! It's been raining for days.

Huffing and puffing.
Photo by Jonathan Bostock.
My official time was 28.48 min. I came 174th overall and 22 (out of 28) in my age group.

This was a hard one. Blasts of cold wind made me gasp.

It was three laps in the streets around town and three laps on the stadium with dirt softened by recent rain. You have to push hard on this relatively short distance, the race is quite fast and, as usual in France, there are very few fun-runners and hardly anyone raising for charity. But the announcer made a point of naming all companies, small and big, that sponsored the run. Inscription fee was 8 euros online and 10 euros on the day. To run in a race in France you need to be a card-carrying (licence) club member or produce a certificat medical from your doctor.

Most runners are club members, very fit and competing for points toward an overall ranking in the Normandy and French athletic ratings.

Not having had time for a warm-up, I started slow and gradually picked up pace as I ran. On the last two laps caught up with a pretty blonde woaman who was beginning to struggle. Just started chatting and encouraging her when three or four of her fellow club-members, who had already finished the race, descended on us and paced her ahead of me! Not fair!

The course was a bit boring but this was compensated by the great crowd of onlookers who cheered us, runners, with 'allez-allez!' Someone even recognised my CCCP t-shirt and shouted 'Allez, Russie!'
There were over 200 adult runners including (very!) pretty young women, ladies and gentlemen well over 60 and a man with only one an arm. 

And lots of children competing on shorter distances after the main race - 400 m, 800 m and 2.3 km, including an English girl who couldn't have been older than three. She finished last to a great cheer! The winner was an incredibly fast boy who was about a hundred metres ahead of the rest, simply amazing.

There were no water stations but - hear, hear! - a French woman had a table with beer for some reason. A row of cans and half-full plastic glasses ready to be picked up! There was a small crowd of fun-runners in fancy wigs. I won't be surprised if they really did have a beer or two while running. 

They finished last except one who dashed ahead mid-distance and finished with a respectable 20 minutes+ time.

Great way to close the year!

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