Fit Five Friday – The Race that was my Gateway to the Marathon

21 May, 2021 18 By Renée
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Welcome to the Fit Five Friday!

It’s that time of week again! Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this new link up with your FIVE amazing hosts – me, My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida ! Feel free to join in on the fun!

My Marathon Gateway Race

Maybe you remember a few weeks ago I posted what I loved about my first marathon? Well, funnily enough, the “gateway” race that led to the Paris Marathon was also in France.

Seven years ago, the hubs and I ran, what was for me, the first race that was more than a Half Marathon – La Course Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau en Aveyron – I realise that is a mouthful, as does pretty much everyone who runs this course, and we simply call it “Millau” (pronounced phonetically “me-YO”). Ron had run his first marathon just a month prior so that probably stoked the fire in me a bit as well. But I was having back issues and wasn’t even sure I would survive this race. Spoiler Alert: I did AND it seemed to have knocked my misalignment all back into place again!

Five Fun Facts about this race and the trip

Race Distance – While it wasn’t much more than a half marathon, it was still longer than any distance I had run up to that point. But not only is it 23.7KM it’s also a HUGE climb up to the Viaduc bridge and then a huge drop going back down to the finish. So we knew it was going to be a challenge, for both of us.

Excited and nervous for this bib pickup

The Incredible Bridge – The Viaduc du Millau is the tallest bridge in the world. I’m not just saying that; it’s true. And as someone who is fascinated by bridge engineering, this was an absolute dream to run across. Even when we first drove over it I got goosebumps! (I remember something similar the first time I ever crosse the Golden Gate Bridge).

Approaching the bridge for the first time

Running the bridge was, however only 5KM of the 23.7 total of the race. And I thought it would be a breeze going over, but no… first we had to climb 340 meters up there, then it was a constant uphill to the end of the bridge. Only at the turnaround did we finally start to go downhill.

Never mind the computer generated voice on the video, just look at this marvel!

Upon completion, I knew I was ready to move forward – Since I’d participated in 2 Marathon relays at that point, AND Ron had *just* completed Rotterdam, I finally had the (somewhat scary) feeling that I was ready to do something more. The atmosphere at Rotterdam the month before had been completely magical, but at that point I still kind of thought “never”. Well, friends, you do know we really should never say never, right?


Weirdest Race Swag Ever- We all have a race where we get something, well, odd in our race swag, right? Well, amongst a few “normal” things (race leaflets, blister bandaids, cooling gel single use packets), was a tin of lentils. That’s right, a tin of lentils! Of course these were lentils made with herbs from that particular area of the south of France, so I get it, but… not really what you are thinking about eating before or even after a race. Am I wrong?

Cheese! Yes, I said it. Cheese. The town of Roquefort was a mere half hour drive from Millau, so we couldn’t help but visit the cheese caves and take part in some sampling of the goods. Although, I am more of a fan of the stinky stuff and Ron not so much. But even he enjoyed some of the younger, not-so-stinky, varieties they had on offer.

Bonus Fun Fact: we bought about 2 kilos worth of cheese and drove home with it in the back of the car. Let’s just say it’s good we got home when we did otherwise it may have tried to escape the car on it’s own. Also, after about another 500g of the stuff, no one really wanted to eat any Roquefort cheese for a while. It happens I guess; you get cheesed out.

So tell me, did you have a “gateway” race to a longer distance? Have you run in a race across an impressive bridge? What is the weirdest thing you ever received in a race swag bag? And most importantly – stinky blue cheese, yes or no?

If you want to read back on my trip, you can find the post here. It’s not really a race recap, but I do talk about the race and the trip amongst other things.

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