I got a bit peer pressured into this race, but I have not regrets about that at all! I booked this race before I’d booked the Paris Marathon, but I later decided I would just see this as a last long training run for Paris before I would begin tapering.
In the end there was a large group of us #ukrunchat and #visorclub people staying at the same hotel and it was great to (finally) meet a lot of those I had been talking to on social media for so long, but hadn’t yet met in real life.
The marathon and the half marathon both started at 07:30, so I had to get up early to get ready. Unfortunately, the breakfast at the hotel wasn’t yet open. They had arranged for some breakfast to be delivered to the hotel, but in the end I ended up eating a bit of yoghurt and two bananas. Not entirely ideal, but it would just have to do.
The half marathon route is 10,5 km running from the city center to the edge of the city, turning around and then running back the same way along the main costal road of Limassol. The race starts this early because it gets quite hot in Cyprus in March and although I was enjoying the sunshine a lot, it’s not the most ideal running temperature.
The first 10k were fine temperature wise, it was pretty windy and around 15 degrees when we started, but it quickly warmed up. I struggled a bit more with the heat in the remaining 10k. There were kilometer markers every 5k for the half and every kilometer for the full. Unfortunately, the markers for the half weren’t correctly placed. The 5k sign was at the right place, but the 10k sign was at 10,5 km and the 15k sign was actually at the 16k point.
There weren’t any supporters along the route, except for a few people at the start/finish area. Since the entire main road was closed off for the event it was actually pretty quiet. I normally don’t run with music during races, because I want to be able to enjoy the race atmosphere, but I found myself wishing that I had brought my earphones along this time. In the end I finished in 02:51:00. An average time for me and considering the heat and the lack of support, I’m alright with it. I wasn’t aiming for a PB anyway, since the Paris Marathon is in 3 weeks.
The race was supposed to be flat, so I was quite surprised to find a few hills between the 8k and 12k point. Not huge hills, but all in all a total elevation gain of 190 meters. The views at the start and at the turn around point of the Mediterranean Sea were great, but the rest of the time you were just running in between hotels and shops.
There were aid stations every 2,5 km, which was good, but I was a bit annoyed at what they offered. Up front the organisation had said that at least half the aid stations would offer juice, soft drinks, fruits and electrolytes besides water of course. Well water they did have and sometimes they also had an electrolyte drink that tasted awful and they’d put in firm plastic cups which you couldn’t squeeze so drinking from them was basically impossible. One aid station did have coca cola (I’m the kind of runner who’d love to have flat coke at aid stations, so the thought of this made me very happy), but they only offered it in very tiny plastic shot glasses and thus less than a sip. But on the positive side, the race organisers did say that they recycle all the plastic cups & bottels which are used during the race and they don’t throw anything away.
The race event takes place on Saturday and Sunday and in total there are around 15.000 runners, but around 10.000 of those participate in the 5k on Saturday. There were around 400 marathon runners and 800 half marathon runners on Sunday and the remaining runners took part in the 10 & 5k on Sunday.
Downside was that they had closed off the entire road for the entire duration of the marathon and since our hotel was at the end of this road and there weren’t any busses or taxi’s I ended up walking the 10k back to my hotel after the half marathon. Not the best way to recover from a half, but my legs didn’t really hurt that much the next day or the day after that. So I guess that’s a good sign for Paris Marathon in 3 weeks!
I did get a race t-shirt which has a nice design, but unfortunately they didn’t have any small sizes (even though I had to give them my size while registering), so not sure if I’ll actually wear it since it looks huge on me. I do love the design of the medal.
I had a fantastic weekend in Cyprus, but the main reasons for that were the sunshine and seeing so many familiar faces and meeting even more. The fact that the race was out and back also made it possible to see many runners come by and say hi. The weather was fantastic (although a bit hot for running), but the route wasn’t spectacular.