“Mens sana in corpore sano” (healthy mind in a healthy body) used to say Romans. As a matter of fact, practicing sport is good for your health and if you are choosing marathon as your preferred open-air fitness is even better and more challenging if you live in Monaco.
“You never fail when you are doing sports, when you try doing your best, you can only learn and get stronger”, highlighted to HelloMonaco at Sportel 2018 Paula Radcliffe, former British world champion long-distance runner who kicked off on Wednesday the 13th February at Port Hercules the new edition of Monaco Run 2019. This marathon event has been imposing itself as one of the major Monegasque sport competition. This year, it converted into a real two-day sporting festival in bright sunny days in the presence of authorities, iconic international athletes and new sponsors that gathered at Quai Albert 1er on the 16th and 17th February 2019.
A totally new programme allowed Monegasque residents and international visitors of all ages to enrol in a set of foot racing to meet the needs of any kind of physical and technical preparation, from professionals to amateurs who could enjoy the 10km City Trail, a European car-free run path, and the Pink Ribbon Walk to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. New generations of Millennials athletes could test their physical resistance by attending the 1000m Herculis on Saturday the 16th. On Sunday morning (17th February) the most challenging competitions attracted international runners from the renowned International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Diamond League to participate to the 5km Herculis run, a discipline recently recognized by IAFF.
A twin marathon, male and female, held by Herculis EBS in partnership with the Monegasque Athletics Federation that gave pure adrenaline both to protagonists and spectators. After a thrilling race warmly supported by fans, the Dutch champion, Sifan Hassan, set a new world record, completing the course in 14 minutes and 44 seconds. The Swiss record-man Julien Wanders achieved the podium crossing the finish line at 13 minutes and 29 seconds. A memorable performance ended by the official awarding ceremony in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, H.E. Serge Telle, Minister of State, and other authorities and delegates from athletics.
“Sport has the power to change the world”. These effective words by Nelson Mandela sum up the spirit of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, main sponsor of Monaco Run 2019. This charity body, supported by over 200 distinguished sportspeople, aims at making a real long-term social change through inspiring sporting and education values to help young people to improve their life style as future adults and clever leaders in disadvantaged areas more prone to conflicts than peaceful coexistence. Playing sport together can be an important hook to promote peace as specified by Jon Insley, development manager.
But how did the idea of Monaco Run 2019 come up? HelloMonaco asked Didier Boinon (D.B.), member of the Fédération Monégasque d’Athlétisme.
HelloMonaco: Monsieur Didier, which is the role of the Monegasque Federation in this event?
D.B.: The Monegasque Athletics Federation has been organizing sport events for twenty years including a multi-state territory like the 23km run from Ventimiglia (Italian Riviera) as far as the Principality. We have finally conceived Monaco Run as a multi-marathon race. This year all runs in Monaco are brand new thanks to the two-year cooperation with Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. We primarily decided to include young runners in the 1000m run that is having a great success.
HelloMonaco: Does Monaco Run contribute to the carbon neutral Monegasque project?
D.B.: We pay particular attention to any environmental aspect since H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince is the President of the Monegasque Athletics Federation, having a special sensitivity to raise eco-awareness. Our mission is to implement best practices and we have the chance to deal with a sustainable sport in direct contact with the environment. Thus, we are using an increasing number of carbon free electric vehicles to support the athletes during the race.
All that is making Monaco Run an important hub for runners coming from every corner of the world. Chamnian, a visitor from Thailand, heard about Monaco Run marathon by chance while approaching the Principality from Nice airport. Being fond of running and marathon user, she thought it was a great opportunity for her and asked promptly for a medical certificate.
“I am really happy to be here for the 10km City Trail enjoying such a great sunny day while keeping fit”, she said to HelloMonaco. Driven by the same empathy for marathon-life-style Dan and his girl-friend from United Kingdom, came to the Principality just to attend the 5km run and appreciated the safety, cleanness and efficient management. “Running 10km, 5km or half marathon is for me the result of a mental, physical and emotional training”, underlined Nancy, after her 5km run on behalf of HelloMonaco, and she added: “attending a marathon makes you feel conquering the world only trusting on your self-confidence as a result of a balanced combination of hard work, patience and strategy; no matter which is your final result your muscles feel like jelly but your mind shines like diamonds”.