A year ago, in November 2014, I was wandering around the expo for the New York City Marathon at the Javits Center, in Manhattan. As I meandered through the various booths, I had a few conversations about running and travel.
Out of the blue, three months later, I received an email inviting me to visit Luxembourg and participate in the ING Night Marathon as a runner and a blogger.
After meeting you at the Expo, Erich Francois, the organizer of the ING Night Marathon Luxembourg, was very impressed by you and your work as a blogger. This is why we would like to offer you to run in the ING Night Marathon 2015 which will take place on May 30th, 2015. We would like to offer you a free start and invite you to stay with us in our partner hotel. You can already find lots of information about our marathon here:http://www.ing-night-marathon.lu/en/
I was stunned but honored. I said yes. I arranged my own flights (using points and miles, of course). I used Delta miles to fly on KLM in business class on Thursday evening, arriving in Luxembourg on Friday. I navigated the public bus from the airport to Luxembourg City without too much difficulty.
I spent two nights in Luxembourg at the Novotel (see Hotel Review: Novotel Luxembourg City Center). After checking into my hotel, I went to the expo at LuxExpo (another bus ride, back in the direction of the airport). I knew I was near when I saw the not-quite-inflated ING lion.
I found my way inside, and it was already festive. I got my race gear and went to the expo.
I had to buy this shirt!
There was a pasta dinner right at the expo. They gave out the pasta in little cartons that looked like something you get from a Chinese restaurant. I think the beer and wine was free (but you had to give a 1 Euro deposit for the plastic wine glass!).
Here I am at dinner with some of the nice people I met, including Wah Sing Tan, a runner and Marathon Maniac from Malaysia, and his wife, Susan. Though not in this photo, I also met up with Maniacs Richard Ervais and Zander Ross during the dinner.
A few of us made our way back to the center of Luxembourg City for an evening walking tour, called City Promenade by Night. I highly recommend it (though I was falling on my face from exhaustion, and actually had to leave before the 2 hour tour was finished).
I woke on Saturday still in a blur. All this travel leaves me in a constant state of jet lag. I had a great breakfast at the hotel (See, Breakfast: Novotel Luxembourg City Center Hotel). With the marathon that evening, I spent the day mainly walking around, which is what I love to do. I liked this statue and fountain.
And then it was time to get ready for the marathon. I couldn’t decide what to wear but finally chose one outfit.
I took a bus from the train station to the marathon start. The start and finish was at the same location as the expo. Here are photos of the finish line and baggage check prior to the marathon
Outside, people gathered and eventually lined up for the marathon. I really liked the couch from Boconcept.
feet and confetti. hula skirts and tattoos.
And then the race began. I did not take many photos, so I will describe some of it instead. First, the marathon and half-marathon started together at 7 p.m., with a six-hour limit for the marathon.
I know many people who love night marathons, but I never know what to do all day the day before a night race. I opted to run the half-marathon for at least 3 reasons. First, I had only arrived the day before, and I was tired. Second, I’ve been injured and even six hours of running, especially at night until 1 a.m. didn’t sound attractive. Third, I was invited to the marathon VIP party alongside the finish line. Yes, I decided it would be better to drink and eat and be merry at the finish line after a half marathon than to trudge through 42 tired kilometers.
As I mentioned, I was running slowly recently, and most of the European runners were fast. Consequently, that meant that, when I arrived in the old town of Luxembourg City, the crowds were roaring – probably ten deep – all cheering for me. Only me. Imagine a small historical beautiful city at night, with crowds even louder and more enthusiastic than those at the New York City Marathon. It was unbelievable. How could I even take a walking break – they were all out there cheering for ME!
There was also music and other entertainment along the course…
The finish line was inside the LuxExpo, which was pretty exciting. There were some booths with food and drink, as well as a hair salon booth!!
I only stayed there a few minutes, as I had special bracelet to enter the VIP party. It was a catered first-class event in every respect. Most people were dressed up, and here I was a bit sweaty in my shorts and singlet. As they say – it’s all good.
The buses back from the marathon finish and VIP party were somewhat disorganized. I eventually returned to my hotel.
I woke up Sunday morning, ate a large breakfast at the Novotel, and then went by train to Düsseldorf, Germany.
And here’s the medal and marathon towel:
Note: the two night stay at the Novotel, the marathon entry fee and the walking tour of Luxembourg were provided for me by the ING Night Marathon.