Posted by: Marco | February 8, 2011

Riviera Running


Shannon  ran the “Course du Soleil” Half-marathon on Sunday, 6 February. She wouldn’t toot her own horn so I’m doing this secretly. The race was a point-to-point run, our favourite kind. It started near the port of Nice and finished at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco.

Shannon and winnings

Okay. I know you want to know how she did. Shannon’s official time was 1:25:54. Fast! Fast enough for 5th woman overall and 1st in her age group! She finished 177th out of 1191 runners.

The race: At the last-minute, organizers shortened the route from the official 21.09km to 19.6km due to construction in one of the towns on the route. Race conditions were perfect. Sunny and cool. Almost too cool. You readers in Canada may laugh smugly but it was downright chilly to race in shorts and t-shirt. The mercury read 3C with a stiff breeze. The sun crept over the ridge just as the race started at 9am. Then the warmth of the Mediterranean sun got things going. It was soon a very comfortable 12C or more.
The run route was gorgeous, as you might imagine. The route followed the coastline, staying on roads (“la basse Corniche”) and wound its way from Nice through Villefranche-sur-mer, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-mer, Eze-bord-de-mer, Cap d’Ail, and finally into Monaco. Despite being on the coast, it was not a flat course. This part of the coastline is very rugged and hilly, so avoiding hills was impossible. Luckily, Shannon has been running hills almost daily since our arrival in Menton and before that in Alsace. She was well prepared.

Trophy, flowers and Monte Carlo Casino

The race was pretty low-key but well-organized. It was also very inexpensive. The entry fee was 15 Euros. We’re not sure how they keep race costs so low. My 10km race in Nice in January was equally cheap. We think they might not have insurance issues like we do back home. Here, to collect your race kit, you MUST provide a doctor’s certificate declaring you are fit to compete in running races. (The certificate cost us 22 Euros each. We all got one from the local doctor as Anique and Owen needed one to train with the local swim team.)

For her age group victory (veteran femmes), Shannon received “bisous” (the mandatory kiss on both cheeks), a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a huge trophy, and a great “Monte-Carlo” beach towel. It was a pretty big haul. Now we have to figure out how to fit the trophy in Shannon’s backpack!!
Shannon ran so fast that the kids and I didn’t see her finish! After the start in Nice, we trudged off to the nearest train station. We only just made it before the train arrived. We had to run to catch it but we were able to jump on just as it pulled up to the platform for its minute and a half stop. We rode the train and disembarked at Cap d’Ail station, the town just west of Monaco. We thought it would be a shorter walk to the finish line from there than from the Monaco station. We were wrong. After a false start, we found ourselves back at the train station and then took the coastal path towards Monaco (you were right, Anique). Being a coastal path, it isn’t very straight, and therefore not very direct. We walked quickly and only stopped briefly, to warm up in the sun and eat a quick snack of chocolate croissants. As we walked longer and longer down the path, we realized that if Shannon ran well, we wouldn’t see her finish. Well, Shannon ran very well, we walked fast, but she was faster than us. We missed her big finish by about 10 minutes. Bummer.

Shannon and her biggest fans


  1. WOW!!! That’s amazing!! Well Done Shannon! Thanks for sharing Marc. We miss you at Caldwell! 🙂

  2. Congratulations.

    You have not lost your ways in Europe .You are as fit as ever .This is a race you will never forget.

    Love you

  3. Congratulations!!!!

    Amazing !Mind you ,we are not surprise .Good for you Shannon.See you soon in Portugal ,I am sure you will find hills over there also.

    Love you

  4. Hi,
    I read the blog on Mamie’s computer, so I will comment here too. Funny thing! When you told us about the run, I said “They are going back by train and I bet Shannon will beat them home!” I am happy to see that my confidence in our very own SuperWoman was not misplaced. Well done Shannon! good job!


  5. Hi all,

    Congratulations Shannon. All that training (or fun for you) I guess we should not be surprised. What a great souvenir that trophy will be! I loved reading Marc’s description about how you beat the rest of the family to the finish line!


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