2017 is shaping up to be the year of me participating in more races than I have done in any year previous.
So far I knocked out the Rome Marathon early last month and to close out April, I snuck in un petit semi-marathon in Thionville, France.
Here’s a review:
The 22nd edition of the Thionville Half Marathon information could be found on their website (all in French but with the help of google translate, I was able to navigate). It’s a bit outdated, design-wise, but was sufficient enough with the capabilities to register online, see previous year’s results, get parking and bib pickup info, as well as looking at course maps. Besides the Half, there was also a 10km race and kids fun run.
The race field was limited to, I believe, 1500 people so in fact, it was quite small. They did allow for early bib pick up, with time tracking on the bibs surprisingly, the day before or day of the race. Price was completely reasonable at 18€ which included a dry-wick, albeit hideous, performance tee in drab green. Even going the day before, they ran out of some sizes.
Race day turned out to be beautiful, sunny and reaching the high 60s. The 10km race began at 9am with the half following after at 10:30am. The race started and ended on the same street in the center of town by a theater and temporary circus tent. Besides a few shops and restaurants, the city is mostly made up of apartments, for it’s a big commuter town with its close proximity to the border of Luxembourg. Other than the Moselle River passing through the city, I must admit in comparison to Metz, Thionville lacks tourist attraction.
The race brought us through the center along the river for the first 10km. The scenery turned from town to country in minutes while following the bike path bordering the river. Even though the race was small, the narrow bike path crowded runners early on making it difficult to adjust speed, to be either faster or slower which ultimately helped me early on at a quicker pace than normal.
On the right was the river which had a few kayakers along the way, to the left was mostly rapeseed aka canola oil plants. They produce beautiful fields of yellow flowers, however, the pollen was strong sometimes making it difficult to breathe when passing them. A couple times we passed a herd of cows who came close to the fence to cheer us on. Other than that the bike path left us little to no spectators.
At the 10km mark, we turned left onto a beautiful tree-lined road that brought us to the village of Cattenom. Passing a few onlookers from the village, we made our way through with a few turns and the houses brought some much-appreciated shade. Water and sponge aid stations with cut oranges were at every 5km and were never out of supply.
Making our way back to Thionville center we found ourselves back on another bike path but at this point, we were spread out enough without any cramping. Speaking of cramps, I luckily did not have too many but was feeling my quads tighten with the closeness in proximity from my Rome Marathon and the heat was starting to get to me and a few of the other runners due to the lack of shade. With 5km left and having kept my pace to about 9 minutes per mile, I realized I stopped sweating and was starting to feel a little light-headed. I decided to play it safe and slowed my pace but still keeping it under 10 minutes per mile. The finish brought us back through the center of town and the crowd was great creating a tunnel to the finish line. With an overall time at 2:04ish (from my Garmin) I shaved 7 minutes off my since my last half in Remich, Luxembourg from September.
My biggest disappointment in regards to the race was that there were no medals for the finishers, besides that, overall, it was a good day.
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