We were lucky enough to be invited out to Limassol to check out the Run Limassol courses, meet the organisers, eat a lot of halloumi and learn a bit about the race and the place. Based on our findings, here are our top 10 facts about Run Limassol.
1. The first Limassol Marathon took place in 2006 and from 2009 it has been growing in size and popularity year by year. 2016’s Run Limassol events had 13,000 runners and 2017’s event looks set to be even bigger.
2. There wasn’t a big running culture in Limassol before the event was founded. There weren’t any running clubs and the locals looked upon people who ran as a bit strange (and they may well be right about that). There are now 7 running clubs in Limassol, mostly down to Run Limassol.
3. The food in Limassol is fantastic. We know this because we ate a lot of it last weekend. We hadn’t run a marathon but we ate as if we had.
4. Halloumi pie is the best thing in the world ever (see 3).
5. 1200 runners travel from overseas to take part in Run Limassol, 35% of whom are British. I can see why Brits love it so much. Not only is it beautiful, with year round sun and jaw-dropping beaches, as a former British colony it retains 3 pin plugs and driving on the left! No adapters and no getting run over because you’re looking the wrong way for traffic. Two less things to worry about.
6. As it’s a popular holiday destination there’s an array of hotels for every budget. But beware, the cheaper ones might only have one pool, or you may have to walk 5 minutes to get to the beach. It’s a hard life in Limassol.
7. The local government are really on board with Run Limassol. They’ve even rebuilt large parts of the coastal path to encourage runners. They wholeheartedly support the race. Here’s a good example: we ran the 10k, to get a feel for the route, and the police turned out to give us a police escort. We felt like the lead group of a big city marathon, but a lot slower and with much bigger halloumi reserves.
8. Once the races that make up Run Limassol (5k corporate race and kids race on Saturday 18th March and 5k, 10k, half and marathon the following day) are over there is a huge beach party. This sounds brilliant. And dangerous. Limassol is a party town. Us runners are lightweights. Pace yourself well in the marathon and keep that going for the after-party.
9. There are some brilliant running club packages, including 50% discount on registration, low rates on accommodation and even touches like having your race pack waiting for you at your hotel and a bespoke flag for your running club to mark your meeting point at the end. They take care of all the logistics so you can concentrate on your race.