Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Run Lola Run!

The excellent 1998 German film in our title opens with Lola receiving a phone call warning that she has twenty minutes to come up with 100,000 deutschmarks (about €50,000) to save her boyfriend’s life. With no time to spare, she bolts out of her apartment and … well you’ll have to rent the movie to find out.

For most people, running is defined as either an action under duress: “The last time I ran was June 1999 when I saw my car being towed; my lungs are still recovering,” a friend told me recently from the comfort of her sofa or for the pure adrenaline that can only be understood by those who “Just do it” as the Nike slogan says. And there are plenty that fall into the latter category on the Côte d’Azur.

Lola 300Photo : J. JohanssonThey just do it...

Stanley Alpern, an American living in Villefranche for the last thirty years, runs 21 km over the Grand Corniche to La Turbie three times a week … and he’s 82, making him the oldest runner in last year’s Nice-Cannes marathon.

Ruth Porrini, 62 and also American, began running just before she turned 50. “Every time I go to the US I gain weight,” Ruth confesses. “My husband wouldn’t let me take diet pills, so I started running. At first it was only 3 km and my knees were terrible. But the more I ran, the better my knees became.” How many kilometers has she run since? “I don’t know exactly, but I’ve done eighteen marathons including Rome this past March and last year I did a 75 km run – 3000 meters of which was elevation. I definitely feel healthier, but it’s really hard work in the beginning - so remember to take it in stride. Every one of us can run – you just need to get to the point when it’s enjoyable.”

Azur Sport Organisation (an association loi 1901) organises three runs across the year in Nice: the Prom Classic (10 km), the semi-marathon (21 km; 4 courses in total) and – after a hiatus of nearly 20 years – the Nice-Cannes Marathon (42.195 km). In 2008, ASO remapped the old Nice-Antibes marathon to start from Nice’s Promenade des Anglais to finish at the Palais des Festival in Cannes. Last November, 10,000 participants – a world record for the first edition of a marathon – dared the Nice-Cannes course, running the 92% coastal route crossing the five towns in between: St Laurent de Var, Cagnes sur Mer, Villeneuve Loubet, Antibes and Juan les Pins.

“In last year’s Nice-Cannes marathon, there were about 10% foreigners or 1053 people who participated,” Séverine Sanchez PR director of ASO says. ‘On average, it takes about six hours, and the only criteria for registering is the medical certificate which must include the phrase ‘who shows no contraindication to the practice of running in competition’ (qui ne présente aucune contre-indication à la pratique de la course à pied en competition). You can register online for the November 8th race up until the day before at ww.marathon06.com.”

Participate without running

“We are looking for English-speaking volunteers,” Séverine adds, “to help especially with the dossards and registration before the race, and of course to work at water stations. Anyone interested can contact us.” And Séverine points out there’s a collective running group every Saturday morning ,free, or parenth around free? on the Promenade (departure Parc Verdune). An excellent shop to pick up the right pair of running shoes – absolutely essential – is Planet Jogging at 14 avenue Felix Faure in Nice.

For families and friends wishing to holler shouts of encouragement en route to the mad runners, SNCF offers a special marathon day pass enabling passengers to board and exit train along the various villages. Better take along a bottle of water – it may be quite a workout.

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From Riviera Reporter 133

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