Ahead of the Luxembourg Night Marathon, my good friend Juli managed to track down one of the estimated 2000 ME sufferers there. I interviewed Katja who told me about her struggle for diagnosis and what it is like for patients in the Grand Duchy, click here to read. I had some great coverage ahead of the race from UKRunChat and Yorkshire Times.
I knew this race would be the toughest in terms of altitude but I had no idea that it would come amidst a freak heatwave with daytime temps hitting 34C! We got up at 5am for the morning flight on race day and walked around 4 or 5 miles getting from the Expo to our hotel and then on to chill out in the park/shade before walking up to face the race.
There was a great buzz and huge crowds of runners at the start line up at Luxexpo. Jostling for shade and water it was difficult to stay calm and cool with the sun blazing and 15,000 runners all in a cramped car park. Trying to ignore the horrific Euro-pop I put on my hat and wandered over into the pen. It took a good 20 minutes to get over the start line and within a few hundred yards I was already leaking water (usually takes a good 2 miles in the UK for me to start sweating!). I’d realised standing in the pen that this was going to be more about completing than doing it for a good time.
I’ve only felt that way once before when I ran Toulouse through injury in October and it’s not a nice feeling knowing that you’ve trained hard but conditions make it impossible to do as well as you’d like. But I had to get over it quickly as marathon running requires real concentration and you have to banish all negativity to get round in one piece. We started with a 4-5 mile lap around the Expo, water stations were a farce unfortunately. With 10,000 runners ahead of us (an annoying mix of half, relay and full marathon entrants) already and a queue about 4-5 people deep like the local pub on a matchday they just couldn’t pour it quickly enough. Tiny cups were getting half-filled, some people were panicking, elbows were up and it all got a bit ugly. I wasted at least 3 minutes at the first one trying to get served. Grrrr.
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