Semi Marathon De Fes

Zagan the motorhome continues to rest at Camping Diamant Vert, on the outskirts of Fes in Morocco. However, we’ve had a much more energetic day today, taking part in the second Semi Marathon De Fes.

Having registered yesterday, all we had to do this morning was turn up and run. We asked when registering when the start time was and were told 9am. Once back at the vans, we checked the website which said 10am. So we hedged our bets and arrived just after 8.30am, which gave us chance to warm up with a local keep fit class in the park.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Then it was the obligatory pre-race toilet stop. No portaloos here though, just a concrete block with two loos in it, neither of which flushed. There was a lovely old lady there with an amazing smile, whose job it was to go in after you and tip a bucket down the loo to flush it. It seemed most of the bucket went on the seat and floor as you had to paddle your way in, and there was no loo roll, of course (a small hose pipe is provided here in the more basic places with which you clean yourself), but we were more than happy to give her a Dirham for the service.

After wandering around taking in the sights, the start ended up being quite a rushed affair. We hadn’t noticed that everyone else had lined up to go, only a shout and a frantic wave told us to shift. We pushed our way past the motorbikes that were to ride out ahead of us, then through the elite athletes, positioning ourselves a safe distance from the front runners.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Excited at the start

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Ooops, I think we may have just pushed to the front

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Less than a minute later and we were off

The crowd behind us stretched out as far as we could see. The crowd in front of us surged forward, then stopped, then surged again and we were off. Jules and I ran the 10km race while the men did for the half marathon (just over 21km). The men headed off once we were clear of the jostling at the start, which included swerving around a stranded motorbike on the start line. Then Jules and I settled down to the fastest pace I have ever run, and surprisingly maintained it.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Jules takes the lead

Fes Semi Marathon Music

The bands helping us along

It was a fantastic atmosphere with loads of people out to shout and cheer us on. I think Jules may have been one of only two blond people in the race, so we got quite a bit of attention and encouragement. Every little side street had a marshal, with a large baton, making sure no traffic entered the route, while every roundabout had police stopping the traffic. The sound of car horns was deafening in places, many of which were wanting us to get a shift on so they could carry on their journey. Phil spoke to some other British on the campsite and they were held up for an hour and a half in the city as they tried to reach here – we can only apologise and say, we went as fast as we could.

Morocco Police Jacket

Loads of these guys kept us safe on the roads today – a massive thank you to all the marshals and police.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

The view ahead – long straight roads in Fes new town are not great as you can see how far there is to go!

Refreshment stations offered water, oranges or sultanas, which was great but with a water bottle in one hand I really struggled to peel my orange! Finally as we reached our last kilometre, cars and motorbikes started to pass us, then a timing car showing we had been running for an hour. This heralded the leaders in the half marathon. I have no idea what time the overall winner came in at, but I am so proud of Jules and I crossing the line in an unofficial 1 hour 7 minutes (we were aiming for 1 hour 20) – most importantly we didn’t stop, not even to take these pics (which is why they may be a tad blurred). More water, oranges and bananas and we made our way into the park for some stretches in the sun while we waited for the arrival of the men.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

At the finish with our medals

At just over two hours Phil and Jay crossed the line – a time they were both rightly proud of. Phil having fallen on the course had cut his hand a bit, but carried on. Jay also braved pain, his being chafed thighs. A last minute decision to switch to shorts instead of leggings turned out not to be the best. Reunited at the finish we sat and ate our weight in fruit, drank as much water as we dare so as to avoid another trip to the loo. The race was just amazing. A great atmosphere, loads of cheering and a real sense of achievement at the end. I used to think people who ran were crazy, but now I can kind of see its appeal.

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

The men, still standing after 21.1 Kilometres

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Just checking they aren’t chocolate

Then we walked until we were able to flag down a couple of Petit Taxis, the tiny red cars that fly around the cities of Morocco. As they only take three passengers each, we split up to make our own way back to the campsite. Triumphant on our return we then crashed. Afternoon naps were followed by much needed showers. This evening Jules cooked up a pasta feast and we treated ourselves to a beer. Dry January starts again tomorrow as it is now less than three weeks until we all have to run a half marathon in Marrakech – eek!

Charlie didn’t want to be left out

Fes Semi Marathon 2017

Ju x

 

 

 

Into Fes el Bali, the Incredible Fez Medina
South to the Imperial City of Fes, Morocco
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4 Comments on Semi Marathon De Fes

  1. Congratulations! I’m impressed. It must feel good.
    Robina

  2. Looks like a blast…well done all. Kindest, Wayne

  3. Keep on running – life’s like a box of chocolates.

  4. Chris and Peter // January 10, 2017 at 11:35 am // Reply

    Can only say: wow, awesome great!

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