The Bucharest Half Marathon Review. Fun in the sun.

Alin: 1h 31, PB Andreea: 2h 24, PB+7 Summary: If you can handle the heat, this is the perfect course for a PB. It’s flat, and it has a reasonable number of participants.

We’ve done it; we added one more medal to our collection. Our second half marathon, but this time in the city that we know best. We went back home hoping for PBs, time with the kid and a relaxing weekend. And this is exactly what we got. Half marathon running aside, we had a nice time.

The flight

We’re British Airways fans, so on Thursday the 12th of May, we were at Heathrow airport, terminal 5. We always fly to Bucharest from there, so we always eat at Giraffe restaurant before our flight. I’m a creature of habit; I like to do the same things every time. The flight was easy, so I managed to remain calm for most of it. I hate flying, I’m an engineer, and I still can’t believe those things can stay up for so long carrying so much weight. Landed in Bucharest at 1 am.

The hotel

We’ve been to Radisson Blu (5*) twice before, and the main reason we chose it again is the gym. World Class has a nice gym area and swimming pool, plus a huge Jacuzzi outside. It was very convenient for us, as we warmed up in the gym the day before the race and we had a nice recovery at the pool & Jacuzzi after the run.

The food

Being a vegetarian in Bucharest is not easy. We’ve been in restaurants that had one veggie option, but also in restaurants that had NONE. So if you’re a meat eater, Romania will be heaven for you. We still managed to have good food, but what was the most annoying thing was the wait time. The weekend was sunny, warm and EVERYONE was out, so every place we’ve been to was crowded. And we didn’t mind until after the race when we were really hungry.

A bit of fun with Alin’s t-shirt. Lemonade was our preferred beverage this weekend

The race

We visited the marathon expo the day before the race, picked up our race kits and had an orange juice with a friend. The race kit contains the Adidas t-shirt (which goes with the current line of the Adidas ultraboost shoes – nice one, Alin!), the bib, safety pins, chip, a sponge (yes, sponge, to splash some water on you during the run) and laundry detergent (random).

Half Marathon Expo fun

There were 14000 people that morning at the start line. Some for the Popular Race(3.5km), some for the 10k and the rest for the Half Marathon. This event is for everyone; they even had a children race on Saturday. And the marathon expo had activities for both children and adults.

We started in waves, but even if I was right at the back of the queue, I still crossed the start line in less than 5 minutes after the gun (remember the 38 minutes at the London Marathon?!?).

The course is mainly flat and goes through the most beautiful streets in Bucharest and around the National Arena (football stadium). We even had our little supporter on the course! So it sounds like the perfect race, doesn’t it? Wrong! With no clouds up in the sky, the 25 degrees temperature got to me really quickly. I managed to run at my desired pace for about 7-8km, but then the heat did its job, and my heart rate was going through the roof. Unfortunately, I had to slow down and even stop once in a while.

I wanted a PB, but better safe than sorry, right? I’m happy I was wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen! I stopped at every single water station but didn’t help much. I also ran through the small fountains that were watering the flower beds. Sorry!

A splash of love and a burst of energy. Didn’t last long though…

On the last part of the course, at 17km, if you look to your left you can see the finish line, and you start being very excited about it, but you still have to run 2km forwards and then turn around to get there. Torture. I finished in 2h 24minutes, 7 minutes more than my first Half Marathon, but I still enjoyed it and finished it! The race has a 3h time limit, so there were some people that unfortunately didn’t get a medal.

For Alin, as usual, different story. He handled the heat well, finished in 1h 31min, so a new Personal Best and position 204 in the official results. WOW.

The medal is cool, but there was no goodie bag at the end. Just water if you needed some. If you want to travel for a race next year, please consider the Bucharest Half, mid-May 2017. Visit Romania; this country really needs tourists to develop.

Finisher photo. Adidas everywhere.

The recovery

After the race, we went to the swimming pool and Jacuzzi at the hotel, and it did wonders for me. No pain in my legs the next day and no uncomfortable flight. We also slept like babies the night after the race. After we got back to London, we picked up the Beagles at 4 pm and then slept until the next day.

Alin & Maia enjoying some Jacuzzi time.

We’re back to our normal routine and a bit happy that the spring running season has ended. Next official race will be The Great North Run, on the 11th of September in Newcastle. We will start training early July, so until then, strength training, yoga and Pop Pilates! No more running, please, no more running.

What have you been up to last weekend?

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