during 88-91 i was army in Germany, awesome watching the wall come down, it must have been an interesting time to be in Moscow. strange now seeing expensive super-cars and super-bikes doing over 100mph through the city!
Saturday was sightseeing day, walking along the river admiring the golden onion topped churches and the imposing Kremlin walls, a fantastic well policed, clean city where I felt safe being a lone tourist Take a tour | Where | Moscow Travel Portal.
Sunday 20th September - Race day
Up at 0730, a breakfast of a couple of sweet oat bars washed down with black coffee and peach juice then the short walk to the Metro then onto Sportivnaya station. The atmosphere is incredible as thousands file out of the metro on towards Luzhniki Sports Complex. All competitors must pass through metal detectors and bag searches showing wrist bands. Bag drop and race pen entry went without incident or stress and I soon found myself counting down and off and running, really early on you find yourself running through the modern architecture of the new city Inspiration Modern Architecture Skyscrapers.
The 10km runners who all set off with you are directed off to the right as you run down wide 6 lane roads with a policeman at every lamppost. Security was high but there are few spectators in this area. At 12kms there's the first climb into the older part of the city but for the most part the Marathon route is alongside the river with all the iconic views. At about 22kms I had a little walk at the brow of a hill then oops! I watched my 4.15 pacer flag slip by at 25km and the 4.30 pacer flag at 33km said to me just get your old crate home.
Running past red square and the Kremlin walls was great with better support here. Water stations are every 5kms and with one exception well stocked and I'm blaming the hills the heat and (the truth - lack of practice miles!) for not pushing on ..but happy to claim the t shirt and medal. What a fantastic city, thank you Moscow. (yes it was worth the Red tape!). Where's Wally next?
ground, now I'm no soccer fan but I know an impressive place of pilgrimage when I run past one!…that and the even more impressive buildings by Gaudi and the truly magnificent cathedral familia sagrada just blows you away on first sight. still the kilometres clicked by aided by the well staffed water, powersport drink and gel stations every five clicks, non of the aggressive looking pre race studied topography appeared! there was just some gentle inclines, nothing to break even my low pain threshold into walking and finally there it was, the 2 kilometre gentle climb up parallel lines to the magnificent marble and sandstone fountain in the middle of the Plaza Espanya, the end was in sight. I found it very much like running along the sea wall to Reculver, it never seems to get any closer! but a look at my watch told me a PB was on the cards, ignore the growing amount of people now electing to walk the final climb, dig deep like Dora just keep swimming just keep swimming! around to the left past the huge twin columned venetian towers to the finish line and my reward of huge chunks of Spanish oranges and a jim'l fix it medal! (you probably will need to be over 50 to get that!)
half an hour later I'm outside a tapas bar sipping a large cool san miguel beer shouting encouragement to the weary as they finish the last 500 metres, is there a better feeling?
Where's Wally next?
its probably Moscow (£11 entry) flight £88 rtn in September2015
Rick Ryder visiting the Cities of the world on a budget and having a nice jog round!
Big thank you to my major sponsor Anne Ryder and Pegwell bay Park Run committee for my Asics Cumulus (Courtesy of SweatShop) which cushioned me home.
I never imagined when I stood on that parkrun start line four years ago new to running feeling very fat and fifty, I would have completed 4 fantastic city marathons before my 55th birthday, there is a whole world of fantastic people out there get out and run with them.