What a weekend we just had in Milan. Many thanks to everyone who came with us for making my job so easy. It was such a great group, and what lovely camaraderie between the girls who barely knew each other before we left. Milan Marathon has both a relay marathon and a full marathon. We had 8 people (2 relay teams) and 4 running the full marathon – a lovely group of 12. As none of us had ever travelled to this event before, we didn’t know what to expect. So here is what happened…
Pre race preparation
Regardless of what the latest research may suggest on carb loading, we were not going to be talked out of some italian style gourmet buildup to the event. We were lucky enough to have some lovely meals, snacks, some sightseeing and just a little prosecco to settle us into our new environment.
Milan is known for its shopping – it might explain why we spent an evening at the race expo trying on all the various t-shirt colours and sizes. Not as impressive as many race expos, this was a lot smaller and corporate, but the goodie bags including perfume, beer, and a buff were more than many other bigger events.
Our recognisable outfit
Going to the fashion capital of the world, its important to look good. We were delighted with our matching fashion glamour. It was so easy to spot the runners coming, as we were the only people in tutus. Totally comfortable to wear, and the perfect was to spot your relay partner approaching.
Getting Ready for the Startline
Got to love the idea of a female changing room. Hardly anyone in there, and plenty space and room for us to get the suncream and tutus on. The toilets were a different story – very long queues at the start, which resulted in most bushes and backs of cars being used as a toilet, for the girls and guys alike. Very easygoing start, and even at our pace we were across the finish line within less than 2 minutes of the gun start.
Milan Marathon was amazingly well set up for relay runners. With about 2000 teams taking part, the organisation was flawless and entering each relay handover point there was no hassle or confusion about where your next team member was waiting. Using the metro also to get around the route worked out great, as well as bag drops and all the other potential hassles.
There are good sides and bad sides to a sunny day for running. The Bad – running a marathon in 23 degrees having trained in an Irish winter. At each water station one bottle went over our head and the other we drank. Tough going in the heat for us, but good discipline to make sure we didn’t start too fast. It paid off in the end. We spent most of the run looking for any shade to run in. On the other hand, it was nice weather for the relay runners to hang around waiting, and best of all perfect weather to lazy in the park after we had all finished celebrating our success
The Race Course
It’s not the prettiest of courses, and when you do go past the historic areas, you are running on cobblestones with tired legs so are more cautious about the road in front than admiring the scenery. It really helped us marathoners running in a group for the first half to keep ourselves entertained before we arrived into the centre of the city. It is a totally flat course, which I will never complain about. I think hills and heat may have resulted in a very different outcome. All very organised throughout the route, toilets, food, drinks and volunteers – for the relay runners too, it was flawless.
With the exception of the start, the finish, and the relay handover stations, most people were just passersby who were inconvenienced by a race going through their roads. Most supporters were just waiting for their own runner, so not the amount of general cheering which other countries would have. The relay stations were another story though, great excitement and buzz as we ran through those. For those running the marathon, the relay handovers were the highlight, as there was so much distraction and we knew there were a few running chicks at each one to cheer us all on.
The Finish Line
We are still debating, is it a good thing to see a countdown of the meters left – every 50 meters from 1km downward. Great setup, so there was no confusion of how long was left. Possibly the longest KM ever though! Plenty cheers and support at the finish line and such an easy walk through the medals, snacks and bag drops. No hassle, no queues, and a short walk. Always good! Now to find some shade to lie down in…
The Best Bit
Finishing the run and spending from 2pm to 7pm lazing on the grass in a the beautiful castle park at the finish line enjoying the sunshine, beers, icecreams and our chocolate easter eggs. What a way to spend a sunny afternoon.
A Lovely Surprise
What a lovely treat for us all when one of our running chicks produced twelve little easter knitted chicks as a souvenir for us all as we lazed in the grass after the run. Such an example of the camaraderie and support of the group.
Hotel Berna – our base for the weekend
A special note to the Hotel Berna who went out of their way to make our weekend hassle free. Staying somewhere where you can rely on a fabulous early morning breakfast before the race, and a smile for all staff as you arrive back 12 hours later still in a tutu certainly makes you feel at home.
Here are a few bonus photos.. ones that almost didn’t make the cut…
Thank you to all the Forget The Gym Running Chicks for making it such a wonderful weekend.
Now, where will be go next……