I’m going to admit right from the start that I plan to put a lot less effort into writing this post than I did in producing it. I ran a 7.3 kilometer race earlier today, called the Course de l’Escalade. Regular followers of this blog might recall a previous post in which I explained the historical significance of the Escalade celebration.
Another event of the week-long celebration is a running “race” through the Old City. More precisely, a running race consisting of 3 laps through and around the Old City.
The scale of the event is unlike any race I’ve ever participated in. There are literally 35,000 participants overall. You can choose to walk, or run just 2 laps (5K), or do the standard 3 laps (7.3K). They also have a shorter event for young kids. They hold races all day long, with about 2 or 3 thousand lining up for each race. Then you compete against others in your same classification.
Don’t believe that you can have a race with that many people participating? Then check out this video, just prior to the start of our race.
One thing that makes this event unique is that you are running with thousands of other runners through a city that was built largely in the 14th century. Another awesome thing is that there are thousands of spectators lining the entire course cheering for you along the way. Our race bibs include our first names in big bold black typeface, and I must have had a hundred people (kids mostly) who called out “Allez Matthew!” or slapped me five as I ran by. (Full disclosure: I concluded that there is a direct correlation between how much pain you appear to be in, and how much direct personal verbal support you receive.)
I shot the following video about halfway through the race running through a beautiful section of the Old City. The video features Saint Peter Cathedral, a close up of a fellow runner, some cobblestones, and a very unsteady camera. That’s because I am running, so its hard to keep the camera still, as you might imagine.)
Another good thing about this race is that everyone starts at a different time, so it’s impossible to judge how any one runner is doing by where he or she finishes the race. For example, don’t I look pretty good on the home stretch of the run? I think so. Fact is, most people kicked my ass.
Here I am with my friend Leo after our race and before I my “vin chaud” (mulled wine), absolutely essential to restore those all critical electrolytes.
This race was fun as hell. I will definitely be back again next year.