It may be cold and wet outside, but there are places to run where it’s warm and sunny. At this time of year, taking a running vacation begins to seem like a good idea. Not a vacation from running, mind you, but finding a place where the change of scenery and climate makes for revitalized running.
In his new book, “The Incomplete Book of Running,” Peter Sagal notes that running is his favorite introduction to a new city. Sagal, the host of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” puts a long run at the top of his to-do list whenever he arrives in a new city.
Sagal usually looks online for a running store before his arrival, then makes the store his first stop so that he can get first-hand reports on the best runs, and up-to-date information on what areas to avoid due to construction, crime or other factors.
Another approach to a running vacation is to find local events and plan a vacation around them. As we planned a recent trip to Curacao, my sister noticed that our trip overlapped with the Curacao Marathon, with concurrent races at other distances, including a half marathon, 10K, 5K and trail run. Because the courses ran largely on city streets that were closing for the race, it was an opportunity to run along scenic overviews that normally would be too heavily trafficked to be safe.
One unique feature of the Curacao Marathon was that starting times were staggered, with the intent of having most of the finishers from all events crossing the finish line within a smaller window and enjoying the post-race party together. The marathon started at 3:30 a.m., followed by a half marathon start at 5:30, the 10K and trail run at 6:30, and the 5K at 7, so that the majority of participants converged on the finish line within an hour or so of each other.
This enabled all the runners, which hailed from 37 countries, to mingle and celebrate being part of the running community, regardless of the distance covered and the variety of languages spoken.