The course in Guernsey looks spectacular and I’m counting the days until I get the chance to do my 7th marathon somewhere inviting, somewhere stunning. For me, running 26.2 miles is achieving a goal and I simply find all of the training and the event itself easier to accomplish if it involves idyllic surroundings and if you’re more of a tortoise than a hare it also means you enjoy the views for longer!
It’s no coincidence my quickest time, 3:58 came in Rome in 2004.The organisers of this marathon have got it right. They clearly sat down with a map and had the ambition to devise a route that gives the runner a tour of the eternal city’s remarkable sights. You’re running for hours in an open air museum. You’ll be amazed at what little attention you give to your weary limbs when the scenery is so extraordinary. The finish at the Coliseum that year was the icing on the cake and a great reward for 16 weeks of hard work.
You’ve probably entered Guernsey as you love the thought of a race that hugs the coastline. Try Monaco too. You won’t regret it. This marathon takes you out of the principality, along the Med to Italy and includes part of the famous F1 street-circuit. When I ran it in 2006 there was a rather nasty hill climb within touching distance of home but it’s a truly wonderful event.
Every race will probably have its mundane stretches. When eulogising about New York those who have run it seem to forget that you toil through Brooklyn for more than 10 miles but the unforgettable scenes I witnessed in 2004 on 5th Avenue and Central Park along with the varied delights of the Bronx and Harlem give me goose-bumps whenever this race is mentioned.
Finishing London in 2000 had me in tears because it was my first marathon and a challenge we’ve grown up with as part of British culture and I was hugely impressed with Liverpool in 2011. It’s a much maligned city but its history is remarkable and the atmosphere is unique. The scousers have embraced it and are rightly proud it’s growing in popularity.
A city that failed to grasp the chance to show off its splendour and came as a major disappointment was Lisbon. Sure, it’s a delightful place with breathtaking architecture and crossing the Vasco de Gama bridge in 2009 was breathtaking but why the organisers based most of it on a boring dual carriageway away from the city was beyond me. This was a missed opportunity and I’ve since planned races more carefully as I want to be inspired and see something spectacular. I know Guernsey will fulfil this and it’s why I can’t wait to be on the start line on August 30th.