NICE Half Marathon: Sunday, 26th April 2015
Nous avons eu la chance de pouvoir représenter les couleurs de notre club Tyne Bridge Harriers lors du Semi-Marathon International de Nice, c’est pour cette occasion que j’ai la possibilité de commencer notre compte-rendu en Français. De plus, il est important de souligner les performances de ce week end. Au-delà de la course elle-même, nous avons eu l’occasion de pouvoir partager des moments exceptionnels dans un cadre exceptionnel, voici donc les impressions de vos fidèles partenaires Alasdair Blain, Christopher “Hui” Huitson, Kurt Heron et moi-même Arnaud “Arnie” Albertini : (scroll to bottom of page to read translation – DD)
It was a tough start. My aim was to catch the 1.24 marker but this proved difficult as there were lots of slower runners packed into the start so the flying elbows had to come out. I stuck with him round the city centre part. At 7k I felt like I could kick past him so I did. I enjoyed waving at the elderly French people on the balconies as it helped pass the time and they seemed to enjoy my gingerness and waved back. The crowd was really good. On the promenade I knew we turned around at the airport but it looked so far away but just stayed positive and cracked on. I saw Kurt at the turn he was looking strong. The final 400 metres were a struggle but the crowd cheered us through. I shouted “viva la France” and they clapped a bit louder. Coming over the line I put my hands to the sky and thanked the good lord. It was over and it felt bloody great!
After the Northern XC in Pontefract we decided to go to Nice to run the International Semi Marathon of Nice in France. We flew the Saturday’s night just before the Race Day, my family welcomed the Backstreet boys and drove directly to my house for a little dinner. We collected the race packs, may be the most complete one we ever received for a race. With Haribo as main sponsor, we had some good surprises
Sunday 26th of April, wake up at 6.30, race start at 9.30 plenty of time to be ready. We decided to take the train to travel to Nice. It was an opportunity to look at the coast and the beaches between Monaco and Nice. Once the bags were dropped at the left luggage, it was time to do a proper warm up on the promenade. On the sea front the conditions were quite good, no wind, not too sunny and no rain. 10 minutes to go, we decided to head to the start, it was quite difficult to find a good place, even if pacers were present, people didn’t care about the order so Alasdair and I were stuck behind the 1:45 pacer. The DJ was so loud we didn’t hear the buzz of the start. We passed the start line after 50 seconds. The first 5k was in the town, very crowded, impossible to pass people. I passed the 5k line at 24 minutes … I had to go faster regarding the sub 90min aim, I left Alasdair for the next 5k, and passed the 10K line at 44 minutes… way to fast.
The second part of the race was just a flat path on the Promenade des Anglais, with one turn at halfway. It was the occasion to encourage my fellow TBH mates on the way back. Kurt was literally flying in the 3rd group, with only elite Africans ahead. A couple of minutes later I could see the Magic Ginger Hui flying in front of the 1:24 pacer, he was on the way. The mark of the 10 miles was just before the last corner of the race, and it’s when I just hit the wall, the last 5k pace was 8:10/mile for me, on the way back I saw Alasdair with a large smile on his face, enjoying the view with the sea on his right and the city with the Alps just behind. I managed to cross the line with 1:37, 6 minutes PB but far from what I expected. The really good point of the day for me was the times of Kurt (1:12) and Chris (1:23), respectively 12th overall-3rd European and top 100-1st Ginger overall
With the packets of Haribo in our pockets, we had the opportunity to go around the Vieux Nice and degust some pizzas and pastas. And we had 2 other days to go around the area to visit Monaco and the beach, Italy and the metre long pizzas. We had an easy recovery run on the Tuesday on the Cap Martin, 6 Miles with 1000 feet ascending to recover
May be we will have more participants on board next year ?
After lingering issues with my back and hip over the past month, I was thankful just to be on the start line. The route meant if necessary I could just run the first half through the city and then drop out and cheer the lads home. With no pressure of going for any time, it meant I could start easy and build into the race, although the position Arnie and I took up was perhaps a little conservative. The first 5k was mainly a battle of weaving through the pack whilst avoiding parked cars and other street furniture. The crowds in the city were fantastic and the close atmosphere was dizzying. During the only notable climb of the race I was able to spot Kurt flying the other way. He’d managed to work his way into the top 20 despite starting in with us normal folk. Apparently dressing like the Kenyans doesn’t get you in their starting pen
The water stops were all quite welcome, as were the choices of fruits & cakes. I’m not sure many others followed my approach to mid-race nutrition, but I stopped at every station to sample the goods and thank the volunteers
We swept round and back on to the seafront for the second half of the race, as the 10k runners peeled off to their finish. My niggles were noticeable but I felt good otherwise. It was also great to see the leaders flying back towards the finish. I counted them past and informed Kurt he was 15th, but with 2 men in reach. Hui was putting his usual effort in stretching clear of the 1:24 pacer setting up a cracking HM debut performance and Arnie was ploughing on, maybe 3 minutes ahead of me. After the final turn I kicked on a bit, hoping to avoid a personal worst HM time. Crossing the line I noticed Arnie bent over cursing his feet, and then we wandered out to meet Kurt & Hui.
The rest of the trip was one of the most enjoyable few days of my life. The Albertini family were very welcoming and we ate some outstanding local food. It’s a race and location I can’t wait to go back to.
It was a great experience, the lads all did great. Hui’s performance especially was unbelievable. The race itself was fantastic and the support from the locals blew me away. It was great to spend some time with a great bunch of lads and again I thank Arnaud and his family for putting up with us all for three days. The Nice semi marathon is definitely something to consider putting onto your race calendar, as it’s a well organised run, with lots of sunshine and great support. It’s already on my calendar for next year.
Full race results can be found here.
( We had the chance to represent the colours of our club Tyne Bridge Harriers during the International Half-Marathon of Nice, it is for this opportunity that I have the opportunity to begin our report in French . Moreover, it is important to highlight the performance this weekend. Beyond the race itself, we had the chance to share special moments in a unique setting, here are the impressions of your faithful partner Alasdair Blain, Christopher ” Hui ” Huitson , Kurt Heron and myself Arnaud ” Arnie ” Albertini : )