Food, Running, Travel

La Champenoise de la Marne 2014

Qn: What’s better than running a road race?

A: A road race through the Champagne region.

A: A road race through the Champagne region.

Qn: And what’s better than running a race through the Champagne region?

A #1: When you find a victim who's willing to do it with you

A #1: When you find a victim who’s willing to do it with you (it was to be Biscuit’s first race, and his longest run was only 12km, so he was very brave).

A #2: When there are chickens

A #2: When there are prisoners and chickens…

Romans...

Romans…

not one but 4 Elvis Presleys...

not one but 4 Elvis Presleys…

the Knights of the Round Table...

the Knights of the Round Table…

men in uniform...

men in uniform…

Moses!

Moses!

Monsieur Le President...

Monsieur Le President…

giant soccer balls...

giant soccer balls…

and best of the lot: TETRIS running the race with you.

and best of the lot: TETRIS running the race with you.

The race started off only after TWO HOURS of serious partying. You know it's a good party when there is a conga line.

The race started off only after TWO HOURS of serious partying. You know it’s a good party when there is a conga line.

Dutch courage: the boys started drinking BEFORE the race.

Dutch courage: the boys started drinking BEFORE the race.

We finally started the race, which of course, began UPHILL to sober up all the racers. The rest of the race course was not much better, with a series of undulating steep hills and roads with sharp curves at the villages.

We finally started the race, which of course, began UPHILL to sober up all the racers (the organisers have a cruel sense of humour). The rest of the race course was not much better, with a series of undulating steep hills and roads with sharp curves at the villages.

And oddly enough, they didn't seem to struggle so much mid-race.

The toughest part of the run was NOT the pre-race champagne getting to one’s head. It was in fact, the unusually sunny and hot day after 2 weeks of rain and high winds, leaving all runners maladapted to race day conditions. Villagers were on standby with hoses and sprinklers to spray the runners as they passed by. Despite the generous amount of sunscreen we all used, we were burnt nonetheless. Yellow Jersey was banditing the race, with the excuse that he was giving moral support to Biscuit and the Ninja Turtle.

The Ninja Turtle was pleasantly surprised when the race turned out to be only 18K, not the semi-marathon she imagined it to be. It made no difference, there was no official time chips and people were cheating on rollerblades, bicycles and taking shortcuts, and it was definitely NOT a course on which to score a PR. The finish line champagne was very much welcomed by a thirsty Turtle.

The Ninja Turtle was pleasantly surprised when the race turned out to be only 18K, not the semi-marathon she imagined it to be. It made no difference, there was no official time chips and people were cheating on rollerblades, bicycles and taking shortcuts, and it was definitely NOT a course on which to score a PR. The finish line champagne was very much welcomed by a thirsty Turtle.

After meeting up with GodzillaPin and Yellow Jersey, we went to the finish line to wait for Biscuit, who finished nice and strong.

After meeting up with GodzillaPin and Yellow Jersey, we went to the finish line to wait for Biscuit, who finished with a giant smile for the camera.

GodzillaPin, the Ninja Turtle, Biscuit and Yellow Jersey celebrating the finish of Race #2 of the season.

GodzillaPin, the Ninja Turtle, Biscuit and Yellow Jersey celebrating the finish of Race #2 of the season.

Qn: What’s better than finishing an untimed race through the hilly Champagne region in which the race course was 3km shorter than you originally imagined?

A: Winning a bottle of champagne in the lucky draw. Thank you, person-who-drew-the-ballot; the Ninja Turtle has never won anything by luck in her life, and a bottle of champagne is a GREAT way to start a winning streak. Henceforth, the Ninja Turtle’s official favourite bib number is 1067.

P.S (For all the curious number-fixated runners, RunKeeper recorded 1h 46m 25s for the Ninja Turtle’s effort. It was 30°C or 86°F according to GodzillaPin’s car when under the sun, and the total elevation was 348m or 1141.7 feet.)

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