This past Sunday was a very sporty one in the principality of Monaco, with the community of the Riviera coming together to exercise for a very good cause. The annual ‘Monaco Run’; a day centred on charity runs organised by the Monegasque Athletics Federation (F.M.A.) created by Prince Albert in 1984. The idea of creating a Riviera Marathon came about in 1997, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the idea was transformed into the ‘Monaco Run’ event that we have today, dedicated entirely to running.
The organized runs are one of the most unique routes in the world, thanks to the beautiful landscape of the Côte d’Azur that combines sea and mountain. It is definitely at the top of the most spectacular runs you can do! The day usually consists of four different runs, with varying distances and routes, including the Riviera Classic 23.8km, the Monte-Carlo 10km, the Herculis Relay 3+7km and the Pink Ribbon Walk 5km. However, to the disappointment of many, this is the first year since its creation that the Riviera Classic run has been cancelled, supposedly in an attempt to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants across the Italian and French borders. The Riviera Classic attracted many runners in previous years, who would travel through three countries: starting in Ventimiglia, Italy, passing through Menton and Roquebrune Cap-Martin in France and ending on Quai Albert 1er in the centre of Monaco. Hopefully this run that follows the entirety of the Mediterranean coastal road will be welcomed back next year!
The main run on Sunday was the Monte-Carlo 10km, which welcomed many runners from the principality and surrounding areas, with a veritable mix of nationalities including people from Italy, England, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and many more! The run started at 9:30 am from Quai Albert 1er along the Port Hercules; runners made their way across the Principality, where the highest point of the trail was on Boulevard du Larvotto just 15m into the race, and looped round to finish the run where they started off, allowing spectators to experience the entirety of the race from start to finish.
The Herculis Relay race follows the same route as the Monte-Carlo 10km, except that the distance is split in two. The race is done in pairs; the first runner runs the first 3km and the second runs the remaining 7km, with competition judges looking out for the quickest pair. An exciting display of speed and teamwork!
Each runner had their own motivation for participating in the race, some taking part to raise money for a specific charity close to their heart, others taking part for their own personal achievement and many returners attempting to beat their previous race times. Claire from England took part in the Herculis Relay with her husband; she has just recently given birth to her newborn baby and wanted to challenge herself to race, whereas her husband wanted to race because the track follows the Grand Prix route. Jee, a resident of Monaco for twenty-five years now, chose to do the race purely for the fun of it – he takes part in the Monaco Christmas 10k Race as well. Romain, one of the many participants from France, is challenging himself to do as many 10k runs in the Côte d’Azur area as possible!
The enthusiasm and encouragement from the crowd on Sunday was great, as supporters joined together to cheer on the runners, giving them that extra adrenaline to keep running. Many participants even stating that the support from the crowd was what kept them going till the very end.
Last but definitely not least, the Pink Ribbon Walk is uniquely dedicated to raising awareness and money for breast cancer research, helping those with it to fight against it. This symbolic march created in 2012 reminds the public of the ever-pressing need to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, and although in the past few years there have been some impressive new treatments and technological advancements, we still have a long way to go in terms of research. Many participants have personal reasons for taking part, some who defeated cancer and others who lost someone dear to them because of it. All funds collected go towards breast cancer research, prevention and providing support for individuals currently fighting against it. Participants walk 5km all around the Principality – the walk welcomes anyone wanting to take part in the cause, no matter your physical abilities or age!
Almost 1,400 people took part in Sunday’s races, all choosing to exercise for a great cause and inspiring others to join next year – start training!