When I was invited by Decathlon to race in the 10 Kilometre Prom Classic, Nice, France. In the Month of January my decision was quicker than the time it takes Bolt to leave the starting blocks! The idea of winter racing to most of us means cold wet races involving mud and thermals but this was far from that!
Average temperatures in Nice in January are around 16 degrees and boast high hours of sun so this was going to be far from the average winter race. Getting to the race was easy, most major airports fly into Nice and the airport is within the city and as I found out on the Sunday it was within 5km of the race start line. Nice it’s self is great, clean and safe and as it is officially out of season there are many options for accommodation for every budget.
The race it’s self is the first race in the French running calendar and boasting over 7,500 runners it’s not a small affair. As the course is flat and the weather is good it attracts lots of visitors as well as locals which truly added to the atmosphere. The Race record is sub 30 minutes but you truly get a real mixture of runners so regardless of you pace you would find others to run with you. With a small race expo open from the Friday it was easy to collect race numbers, goody bags and your race T Shirt whilst out taking in the sites of Nice.
When it comes to race day, I have not done many races abroad and had nothing to compare it to other than races in the UK. The mood was very similar to UK races with a real mix of runners going through their warm up routines and meeting friends and bustling into the pens ready for the off. Meeting up with some fellow bloggers invited by Kalenji (Race Sponsors and Running brand for Decathlon) we waited for the off.
1 thing different that I noticed about the race to UK races was that they started the race in waves. This gave all runners a little space to run into rather than some of the bottle necks you sometimes get in UK Races. Once you get going you suddenly realise that you are running in a warm venue. Nice seem to leave their Christmas decorations up for the race so it was a little surreal to be running with sea views, Palm trees and Christmas Decorations.
The course is an out and back along the main promenade which is the longest in Europe (I think). I have to say that I’m not a great fan of out and back but with amazing views, drummers and sunshine it was enjoyable. There was a water and coke zero station at half way which with the weather being a warm 19 degrees and no wind to speak of I was glad of it as I needed some water. The bay is curved so on the return route you can see the finish over the bay which was both a killer but also a great view.
The distance markers were clear and the crowds as you got nearer to the finish were good. They really helped as I pushed hard on the final Km feeling my heart in my mouth I was glad to finish. As you came over the line you were given your medal and then offered water, sports drinks, fruit as well as blocks of chocolate we met up again and headed for the biggest recovery ice bath on earth…… the sea. Walking over the pebble beach after running a hard 10km was tough in bare feet but the swim in clear waters was perfect, not too cold but cold enough. After a few photo’s we headed to our hotel.
I had the rest of the day to walk and take in some of Nice which was a great place to visit and taking in a market and the parks was great in the off season as it was not too busy. I had enough time to have lunch take in the sights before having to head back to the airport. Beware the airport is a little basic for its size but with a flight time to London of 2 hours it was easy to do in a weekend.
My overall view was that if you wanted to do an overseas race but don’t want to do a half or full marathon this will be ideal. With it being in January and the weather being warm it would make a great winter sun weekend away for those non-runners in your family too. With it’s easy of travel, weather and venue this is definitely one to consider. If you think planning and organising the trip is a little daunting, I did speak to some who had gone as part of an organised trip so the options are there.