It’s called the Cross du Larvotto which sounds like a morning’s canter along the Mediterranean shoreline and then a jog in the sand. Except it attracts some of the strongest athletes even at international level – and, as the runners fly past, all 500 of them, you could be forgiven for thinking that they are going for Olympic gold.
When you see the winning time for the 5200 metres you realize just what an epic event this is. Not surprising after a legacy of over 40 years. The 2019 race is the 43rd edition organised by AS Monaco Athletics and the Club has fielded over 75 athletes for this set of races, at every level and distance, including track and field athletes, triathlon specialists and simple amateur runners too.
All the more credit to the Prince’s Guards that all eyes are on Quentin Chiai. He is a veteran of the 5.200 metre race and has no intention of letting the laurels pass outside his grasp. The first priority might be to guard, together with the “Prince’s Carabiniers”, his Sovereign but after that winning this race is among his highest priorities. You don’t have to wait 30 minutes to find out, because even with running in the sand, which should slow him down, it is obvious that he’s easily going to beat 20 minutes or even his own record.
But wait a minute, you could be forgiven for thinking he has taken the wrong route. Jet lag perhaps from return from racing in the World Military Games in China!!!! He’s flying like the wind across Fontvieille, not Larvotto. Has the race returned to its origins? It was initially run across Fontvieille, even when Fontvieille itself was a shadow of its current self and only the foundations had taken shape well over 40 years ago.
There’s a reason for running the race in Fontvieille in 2019 as Larvotto is undergoing a two year make-over. So Fontvieille has its day in the sun again – even though it’s evident in the past weeks it’s the rainy season. Quentin has done it again easily beating 20 minutes. It’s the fourth victory in a row, with an official time of 18 minutes and 3 seconds, evidence of peak form after limbering up recently in the Boulogne-Billancourt Half Marathon. In the women’s category, Imane Zouhir is first across the finish line.
While the 5.200 metres caught HelloMonaco’s particular attention there are various distances and categories in the Cross. They range from 1.200 metres meters to the epic 5.200 metres.
It’s tempting to relax at home and take it easy on a Sunday with this season’s weather but don’t tell that to Quentin Chiai or Imane Zouhir.