I was super excited to have the opportunity to run the 15th anniversary of the Marathon Nice Cannes. However, due to injury I was unable to run but I still went to Nice to join the Breakfast Run and cover the race from a different perspective. My preparation for the trip was different to my usual rituals and processes. The gels, protein, race belt and recovery massager were replaced by an action camera, a 360 camera, tripods and power banks. The bag was definitely a bit heavier than usual but surprisingly not as full.
Thursday morning we took off from a wet and cold London Heathrow and around two hours later we landed at Nice Airport where it was raining and slightly warmer. The flight was smooth, comfortable and I passed the time by listening to Arnold’s Be Useful audiobook and napped a little so I would arrive refreshed. I departed the airport jumped on the tram to Nice which took around twenty four minutes to arrive at Jean-Médecin Station which was metres from my hotel. I was pleasantly surprised when the reception staff invited me to check in way ahead of my scheduled time. I have always found hotels in Nice quite accommodating where early check in is concerned. The next two days I chilled and engaged in some of the great tourist activities available.
Saturday morning the rain had stopped, however it was cool and overcast. Despite the temperature I decided to wear a running tee hoping that running would keep me warm. I left the hotel with my bad packed with cameras and headed the Hyatt Regency, Nice. The upscale hotel was once again the venue for race expo the Breakfast Run start line was opposite on the promenade. On arrival there was a buzz, I was given a number and pins which was a first for me at a breakfast run. Runners were clustering, catching up socialising and some apparently meeting for the first time. The weather was breezy but warm so somewhat ideal for a social or shake out run. What stuck out to me was the cast of pacers assembled with their respective running time on poles extending from backpacks.
The host with the microphone called everyone to attention, announcements were made in French and some must have been funny because there were laughs. Then the pacers were beckoned to assemble for photos and line up on the promenade. The photos were taken, the photographers, videographers and myself were all poised ready to catch the moment that everyone set off. The countdown concluded and they were off heading west along the promenade. I decided to catch a n ariel shot of runners passing my either side. I call it the Moses shot because I try to safely part a sea of runners and encourage them to wave. It worked perfectly like the previous year and I joined the back of the back and decided to run with them.
It was at that point that I realised that there were lots of runners and it was confirmed later that there were over 500 runners. I ran for a bit and then out of nowhere my injury kicked it. At that point I knew any FOMO I had wanted to act upon and run was not going to happen. I slowed down my pace and then stopped as I knew that they would turn around and head back. As they approached I joined the front, ran backwards and captured some lovely video of the pacers and then ran to the side and caught runners passing and then joined them. It was so much fun, so many smiles, waves and everyone just looked happy to be there. I left them to run east to the I Love Nice landmark which is perfect for selfies the backdrop is the Mediterranean Sea and the stunning French Riviera coastline.
After the run there were refreshments including water and fruit pieces. I mingled with the crowd, interviewed some people and took some footage of Kiprun Team which were tipped to win the relay. It started to get a little cooler and I sensed rain so I left as I had soaked up the good vibes and captured all the footage I wanted to. Later that afternoon I went to Hyatt Regency to collect my VIP Access lanyard which would provide me access to the finish areas and other privileges. The queue was quite long and I somewhat regretted having not attended on Thursday as it was raining. However, I was where and in no time I was inside following a bag check and clearing security. I am always impressed and reassured by the thought that the organisers and Police put into securing the event.
I cleared a couple of flights of stairs, walked along a corridor and I was inside of the expo. There was an array of stands which included tourist information, local, national and international races and a selection of vendors of nutrition, equipment, running technology and clothing. It was a pleasant surprise to Shokz France there whom I had seen the previous weekend at Marseille Cassis. Collecting my lanyard was a breeze but when I went to collect my race number it wasn’t so smooth. I needed my race pack as it contained my wristband which would give me access to VIP areas at the Hotel Martinez after the race. I was told that I hadn’t uploaded my medical certificate to the portal but I could email it. I found it, emailed it and was given my race number pack. Note to self, next time always submit the medical certificate.
I woke up early on race morning with the temptation to lay there for a while as I was only 300 metres from the start. I resisted the urge, turned on all the lights, the TV and started my race morning rituals. After a refreshing power shower I got ready, packed my backpack with my cameras, placed it on my back and left the hotel. Outside it was a warm breezy 15 degrees and as I walked quickly to the start I felt happy with my choice of denim shorts and a t shirt. My attire was a stark contrast to locals who were wearing jumpers and jackets so I definitely looked like a tourist from a colder climate. As I got closer I heard We Will Rock You by Queen being played which gave me flashbacks to the my warm up at the ASICS London 10K. I arrived at Promenade des Anglais by the heart of the start line.
I cleared security and walked parallel to the start line. There are two start wave corrals which utilise the two road lanes on the Promenade des Anglais. The start wave corral closest to the promenade contained the elites and faster runners and the one which I was next to contained the wheelchair athletes and runners with other predicted times. I walked along the of the corral capturing an IG Live when I heard my name called. It was Norman from Paris, a runner whom I had met during the later stages of the previous year’s run. We had encouraged each other through the final tough kilometres and kept in touch. I wished him luck and said I was sorry I was not running but I would be with him in spirit. I then continued to walk long the corral wishing runners luck and, moving to the music being played and then headed to the start.
After a few speeches which were well received the 15th edition of the Marathon Nice Cannes started with the elites setting off. Shortly afterwards the wheelchair athletes set off and then the remaining runners. Having captured that and conscious of the time I headed over to catch the scheduled crew bus to Cannes. Unfortunately I missed it but managed somewhat miraculously to secure a lift from Place Messena from a coordinator associated with the race. I really enjoyed the ride as I got to see parts of Nice I hadn’t previously seen and the road route between Nice and Cannes. We arrived at the Palais des Festivals about 15 minutes ahead of the predicted finish times of the first male elite runners. I thanked my driver and walked to the finish line noticing the choppy waves and wind.
From the wind I could imagine that it would be a challenging run for many as the majority of the course is along the coast. I found my position among the press assembled with their cameras with large lenses. Right on schedule and to announcements the Kenyan marathoner Japheth Kosgei came into focus and crossed the line, breaking the tape in 2h14'37’ to take victory. Second to come into focus was fellow Kenyan marathoner Patrick Kosgei who placed second with an equally impressive 2h17'51' considering the strong head winds. Czech marathoner Matez Zima came in third place with a very respectable time of 2h31'22". Following the withdrawal of one of elite women runners there wasn’t any suspense. Kenyan marathoner Irene Jerobon powered towards the line and through the tape to take first place in the women’s race in 2h41’17’’.
I was fortunate enough to get an unscheduled short interview with Japheth Kosgei after his race. I was impressed at how comfortable he seemed after racing a marathon. Now that’s real athlete recovery to aspire to. I captured videos of the first few finishers and then undertook interviews with finishers to capture their emotions and race experiences. A theme which came through was that they loved the scenery, the first half was calm but the second half of the race was windy. To my surprise while walking around after the medal section I saw a friend, Céline, who confirmed the race was a challenge due to the wind and said they were by sea water as the waves were crashing. I walked back to the finish and positioned myself to the side in front of the line. Shortly after I saw another familiar face, Norman, a friend from Paris approaching the finish. I joined him at the finish and walked with him, congratulating him and captured an interview once he had caught his breath.
Satisfied that I had captured enough finish line footage and interviews I headed to the Hotel Martinez to refuel. Walking into the stunning lobby invoked memories of the previous year when I had run and the weather was in the 20s. I strolled in feeling somewhat underdressed and headed to the dining area. I shall return one day wearing a blazer! I plated some amazing vegan food options superbly presented, found a table and ate. The clock was ticking as my return coach was due to leave within the hour so I decided to head to the press room and start to review and edit my footage. Before I knew it is was time to leave the hotel and catch the coach. In the finisher’s area the amenities included bag collection, toilets, massages, entertainment and food.
Each year I can see improvements in the race as a runner but this year I managed to get a behind the scenes perspective which gave me such a valuable insight. Kudos the organisers because there is an incredible amount of planning and effort to make it a smooth and premium experience for runners. The 16th edition of the Marathon Nice Cannes will be held on the 3rdNovember 2024. The Marathon Nice Cannes is an incredible point to point race which predominantly follows the coastline with views out into the Mediterranean Sea. I highly recommend adding this one to your 2024 race calendar. You can find out more information and register at www.marathon06.com.
Disclosure: This was a press trip, however the thoughts are views are my own.
Personal Trainer from London