“On your mark. Get set. GOOOO!!!” Are you ready
to start traveling to those spring races you’ve spent the winter training for?
I know I am. Some of the big spring races include World Marathon Major cities
London and Boston, as well as favorites Paris and Rome. If running a marathon
in a big city with lots of participants isn’t on your travel itinerary, no
worries. There are plenty of smaller races that offer shorter distances to
choose from as well. 

One of my favorite spring races is the Semi-Marathon International de Nice.
Though it is France’s second biggest running event, there are only 8,000
participants, which is nothing compared to France’s biggest running event, the
Paris Marathon, which has 40,000.

The Events

There are plenty of events to choose from, including a 10km run, la
Nicoise, a 5km or 2.5km charity run for Breast Cancer research, and a free race
for 10 to 16-year-olds, the 2.5 km P’tits Champions run. 
Pre-Race Activities
The day before the race there’s a pre-race stretching session with some of
the elite runners followed by breakfast at the Running Expo Mizuno. I almost
enjoyed the expo – which is set up really in Place Masséna – as much as the
actual race. With the Promenade des Anglais as your background, why wouldn’t
you be outdoors?
The warm-up session before the race, with loud music, pom-pom girls, clowns
and other circus-like characters is a fun way to get you pumped up for the
event. I had to be careful not to overdo it. With all that jumping and dancing
around before the race, it would have been easy to move from warming up to
burning out. 
The Course
What could be better than running along the Mediterranean Sea on a spring
day? I’d argue this was definitely one of the prettiest races I’ve run, with
the course running beside the sea for 16km, along the palm-tree lined Promenade
des Anglais
and the attractive, café-lined harbor, Nice le Port. 
There was never a dull moment in the race. During the 2 or 3 km that the
course went through more residential areas, there was lots of entertainment,
such as African Brazilian drummers and performers on stilts.  Maybe the
race directors thought this would distract and keep us from noticing that the
Mediterranean Sea was no longer in view. While the drummers were very good, I
must admit, I noticed. 
We eventually made our way back to the Promenade des Anglais, finishing in
the same place we started. After collecting my finisher’s medal, I made my way
back to the harbor and celebrated my end of my run.

*This article originally appeared on FlyingBlue Running