It’s been said before, but the best way to explore a new city is to run it. In various running circles, I have met some whose goal it is to either run a full or half marathon in every state and will specifically schedule trips to do so. It is actually becoming a big market and you now see organisations whose purpose it is to arrange “destination travel runs” throughout the USA and even the world.
I tend to look back to where I’ve been and use it as a guide to set goals or plans for the coming year. I love to travel, and of course run. So when those two worlds can combine it is even sweeter.
I feel very fortunate to have traveled quite a bit last year, either through work or vacation. I try to run in every city or country that I visit, whether it be an organised race or just exploring on my own. Reflecting back on my 2017, some things didn’t go exactly to plan due to my injury and missing the Chicago Marathon, but I still have been fortunate enough to check a few new race locations off my list.
I don’t set out to do a specific distance in every location mostly just due to time constraints and in effort to keeping it fun, I do look forward to those opportunities where I can get a new location stamped on my race bling
This year I ran in Shanghai, Brussels, Amsterdam and was fortunate to participate in races in two new states and one in London, England.
May: Cincinnati Ohio – Flying Pig Half Marathon
The city of Cincinnati dates back to the 1800’s and sits on the north side of the Ohio River. The “Flying Pig” name came from agriculture being a primary source of revenue with boats filled with livestock and produce. Hogs were a major source of income in the area and were marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the various processing plants. So much that Cincinnati gained the nickname: Porkopolis.
In 1988 when the town celebrated its Bicentennial, the city decided to renovate the riverfront area to include a “Bicentennial Commons” park and the designer who was commissioned included one feature that caught the attention of many – four smokestacks to represent the city’s riverboat heritage, with four flying pigs on top to reflect the spirits of the pigs who gave their lives so the city could grow. Not everyone was pleased with this design and is reported that some Cincinnati city council members even donned pig noses to protest. The project was approved and the pigs became the signature sculpture of the new Cincinnati Riverfront.
The course is mostly flat and runs through the downtown area. The few hills you encounter in the beginning are over the bridges which you cross going into Kentucky and then coming back into Ohio. But don’t be fooled; there is one big climb that starts about mile 6.5-7, and feels like it will never end. But, of course, you do and if you look around, there is an incredible view over the city. The course flattens out until the last mile or so, and then it is all downhill – every runner’s dream, right?
July: London England – Regents Park 10K Summer Series
This summer while on a family holiday, my husband and I looked to take part in our first overseas race event. We found a nice parkrun held in Regent’s Park, which was a short tube ride from our flat.
London has so many great parks and green spaces for outdoor activities. This particular race series is held the first Sunday of each month from April to September. The run is completely within the beautiful Regents Park where you run three loops on a mainly flat course. It was so much fun being a part of a race event in another country and seeing all of these incredibly fast UK runners. Literally finishing the 10k in the same time it took me to do two loops or approximately 4K!
December: Portland, OR - Holiday Half and 5k
After two months off from running due to my stress fracture and a mandatory slow return during the month of November, I was excited to find out there would be a race that coincided with a weekend trip we took to Portland. The race started and finished at the Adidas North America Campus and winds out and back along the streets of North Portland. It was a fun, festive run to kick off the holiday season. As an added bonus, I was also able to meet up with a fellow Run Angel Ambassador – Katie Dougherty. Since joining the group of Ambassador’s we have all been connected through social media – IG, so it was great to also meet face to face!
I am looking forward to more travel and racing adventures in 2018. What are your plans for 2018?
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