The Grand (Running) Tour of Europe

Happy Tuesday! This morning I have a special guest post from Renato, one of the writers for the website

About today’s guest blogger: Renato is a long distance runner and a freelance journalist. He is planning on running a half-marathon in every EU country throughout 2009.  With the help of a weiss beer in Munich, a cappuccino in Milan, or a camembert sandwich in Paris, he hopes to somehow cross the finish line.

Take it away Renato!

Eating a few tapas and drink some Sangria in the streets around Las Ramblas in Barcelona is not the best way to spend the Saturday night before a marathon, but you can still treat yourself to some great food and enjoy the best races in Europe. A pretzel is Bavaria is a handy last minute supply of carbohydrates. And I would trade any energy bar for the best Italian ice cream or an espresso before the start. From amazing pastries in Portugal to a jacket potato in Brigthon, here is our grand (running) tour of Europe.


Trail Napoléon, France
Corsica Run Xtrem organizes the Trail Napoléon, a 23km trail run with a positive ascent of more than 950m in the sunny island of Corsica. From the cité Impériale in Ajaccio to Parata, the race offers incredible view over the Iles Sanguinaires and an unspoiled trail in the maquis. Add a frozen Pietra, an amber beer brewed from a mix of malt and chestnut flour, and a salad with brocciu (Corsican sheep’s-milk cheese) and you can have the perfect Spring break. Get ready for the last weekend of May.


Venice Marathon, Italy
From Stra (near Padua) to the historical center of Venice, the Venice marathon crosses the Brenta Riviera and Venice lagoon and offers possibly the best finish in the world, just outside St. Mark’s Square. Forget the crowded carnival, October is the best time to visit Venice and try a great Italian ice cream. After the race, treat yourself with a glass of Bellini, the official cocktail of the city.

Lisbon Half Marathon, Portugal
The Lisbon Half Marathon is the most popular half marathon in Iberian Peninsula: from Bairro Alto to Chiado, from Baixa to Alfama district, it’s a great race for a personal best. But even if you won’t break Paul Tergat’s record, you will enjoy the best bica (coffee) and delicious pasteis de nata (pastries) in the capital of Portugal.

Brussels, Belgium
Forget energy bars and taste the finest chocolates in Belgium. Mix a kriek, the local beer fermented with cherries, with a marathon in Brussels’ avenues and boulevards, crossing the most beautiful parks of the city.


Munich, Germany
Just a week after the end of the Oktoberfest (, run a marathon or a half marathon and discover the best beer gardens in Munich: run in the center of the Bavarian capital and enjoy the Weizenbier (white beer) with a huge pretzel. Spend a couple of hours in the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the famous beer hall or in the Hirschgarten, the largest beer garden in the city.


Brighton, UK
With over 5k runners, the Sussex Beacon Half Marathon is a very popular half marathon in Southern England: the chance to have some of the best jacket potatoes in the country and run with hundreds of gulls on the seaside are the plus of the race. The next edition will be on February 2010.

Athens, Greece
A light Greek salad with feta cheese is not the main reason to fly to Athens: visit some of the best islands in the Mediterranean Sea and run a marathon. Actually, THE marathon. The real one in the place where the story began: the finish in the Panathinaikon Stadium and the start in the city of Marathonas are worth a few hours of tough running next November.

And if you are still short of ideas for your next race abroad, you can eat some Apfelküchlein (apple cookies) in Switzerland (, enjoy the best fish and chips in Eastbourne at the Beachy Head Marathon ( or celebrate with a galette au sarrasin and a bolee de cidre in Paris ( Because there is nothing like the promise of some local delicious food to get you over the finish line.

Mmm, just the thought of good beer and Belgian chocolate makes me want to sign up for a race across the pond!

Question: If you could go for a run anywhere in the world, where would you go? I’ve always wanted to go for a run on the Great Wall of China!

  • Evan Thomas

    I think I’d run a piece of the original Marathon route! I’ve ran at Olympus, that was a blast

  • Wow that would be awesome to run in all those countries! I’ve ran in Ireland and Spain, not races, just for fun!
    All the cool foods too!

  • theprettyproject

    SUCH beautiful pics! 🙂

  • AWESOME post! i would pretty much run anywhere, but I think that running in Greece sounds pretty amazing!

  • If I could run anywhere, I would run through the wide open of New Zealand. Come to think of it, I’d do anything in the wide open of New Zealand.

  • looks like a great tour

  • correrconmigo

    Wow! I wish I could also tour Europe. I’m Charmaine from the Philippines. I’ve been running for more than a year and has been thinking of exploring the world thru marathons.