First participation in this marathon, taking advantage of a long weekend (All Saint´s Day) and a visit to some friends in nearby Monaco. I had never visited the Côte d´Azur, and this marathon offers a perfect opportunity to combine tourism and sport in the French district 06, that is trying to get the Alpes-Maritimes recognised as World Heritage by Unesco.
The race starts in Nice, in the popular Promenade des Anglais, that made headlines in 2016 for all the wrong reasons after a terrorist attack. From Nice and following the coastline towards the East, it finishes in Cannes, crossing some villages in their way to the finish line 26 miles ahead. There are a few modalities in offer with the usual marathon: a breakfast run one day earlier (4 miles), a 2×21 relay, and also a 6 stages relay (longest of them over 10k). Therefore, plenty of choices available for every runner level.
The runner expo is held in a temporary pavilion in Massena Square, one of the main sights in central Nice. It has a good deal of brands and races, and together with my running number I also collect my transport wristband, an optional 1-day train pass (6€), that allows to use all trains in the area. Being in Nice for the night I need transport to get back from the finish line in Cannes to Nice after the race (and later from Nice to the airport to go back home).
The start is at 8am, with warm temperature, a cloudy sky, and maybe some rain in the forecast. I am located quite upfront as I registered with a time target of 3.30, and it only takes me a few seconds to cross the start line. Not bad considering that we are over 5000 runners. For the first time I am using a running belt, that I bought in the running expo, to carry my gels.
Again, as in the last marathon, I stay with the 3.30 group. At that stage I didn´t know yet that unfortunately the race would follow exactly the same pattern than in Burgos. I go easily in the group, crossing the 10k timing point in 50 minutes. After 2-3 miles I start losing contact, although I get to the half marathon not too far behind, in 1.48. From mile 19 the wall hits me in full force, and I decide to forget about times and enjoy the magnificent views.
Probably it didn´t help that my last training was 6 days earlier. In my case, usually a light training in the previous 2-3 days before the marathon helps my legs to be more relaxed. The 3.45 group reaches me with still 6 miles to go. These last miles feel much longer, especially when my legs decide to keep their own agenda and go on holidays, but Cannes is already within reach.
I cross the finish line in 3.53.24, in 1695 position out of 4973 finishers, receiving a beautiful medal and the finisher t-shirt. After wearing some dry clothes, time to get to the train station and back to Nice.
Score: 4.5 (out of 5)
Pros: sceneries; medal.
Cons: webpage should be improved, as English version not always offered full information; long queues in Cannes station to board the trains.
Extras: we shouldn´t add pressure on times when we keep competing continuously for long periods. Running bell definitively a comfortable choice for gels transportation,