Athletics & Running Sports Section
Venice - Italy - 27 October 2002
Each year, our Club Athletics and Running Section organise a number of running fixtures that form part of their calendar of events. In more recent years some of these trips have ventured far and wide to more exotic locations around Europe. These weekend trips offer an ideal opportunity for members to represent the Club in a competitive sporting event and in addition combine a cultural social activity to destinations that one may not normally venture. Members are often accompanied by there partners or friends.
Venice - Picture taken from in front of Saint Mark's Square - On race day runners crossed this section
of the Grand Canal on a temporary pontoon!
In October 2002, five members of the Club travelled to the Italian City of Venice. Four members, David Watkinson, Steven Broadbent and Ms Shirley Worrall entered the Venice Marathon. Mrs Sue Harrison, Ms Julie Yates, Dave's wife, Jeanette and my wife, Anne accompanied the party acting as support for the runners.
We drove down to London Standsted the evening before stopping in a travel lodge before flying early the following morning. Our flight was to Trieste east of Venice where we then took a one hour train journey to the centre of Venice.
Our hotel, the Hotel Leonardo, was placed conveniently close to the railway station and the centre of Venice. It was reasonably priced and a pleasant place to stay.
Before the race - the Brodie's Tours Party - Julie Yates, Shirley Worrall, Sue Harrison
and Steve Broadbent go on a six mile pre-marathon training run
The runners registered for the race in Mestre on Saturday morning. Myself and Shirley ran with Julie and Sue six miles along the causeway into Mestre. It made a good pre-race training run and a nice way to acclimatise to the surroundings. An easy six mile run the day before a marathon is recommended. Some may disagree but really, if you have done the training and preparation the then a six miler the day before won't do any harm at all.
We met up with Dave, Jeanette and Anne in Mestre where we spent time at the Marathon exhibition before returning to Venice.
Sunday - Marathon Race Day
The start of the race was from a small town called Stra some 20 miles from Venice. Dave, Shirley and I travelled out to Stra by bus and arrived in good time to warm up and prepare for the race ahead of us. The October weather was fine, dry and sunny with clear blue sky. The temperature was cool and ideal for running.
The race started at 9.20 am but at 8.45 am we heard a commotion around the start area only to realise that the baggage lorries were closing there tarpaulin sides and were on the move. We very hurriedly threw our kit bag on board as the driver of the last lorry fastened the sides. Many runners hadn't been able to get their bags aboard. Why the lorries had to depart so soon I don't know? I guess the remaining runners' bags would find their way to the finish but a little disconcerting for some.
The race started on time and we were off running along a very nice flat country lane all the way to Mestre. The lane had a small canal running alongside and passed through a number of villages all lined with local people cheering us on our way.
Map of the Marathon Course starting in Stra and finishing in the centre of Venice
We ran through Mestre along a number of main streets before leaving this mainland town and were soon on the 'causeway' leading to Venice itself. The approach to this lovely city was tremendous and one of the carriageways had been completely closed especially for the race. We entered Venice and ran around the dockland area before running along one of the main coastal walkways alongside Canal Fusina and Giudecca toward the Grand Canal outlet. I did wonder at this point which bridge we would cross the Grand Canal as I knew the race finished on the other side beyond San Marco square. We crossed several canal inlets using specially constructed boardwalks that covered the steps on each of the bridges. This allowed our safe passage over the many ornate bridges.
We then turned to cross the Grand Canal and were directed onto a huge pontoon that had been specially constructed across the canal outlet. The canal had been closed specially for the race - tremendous! I felt most honoured to have this very busy canal thoroughfare temporarily blocked to allow us marathon runners to cross. Back on dry land I ran the last half mile past San Marco Square, the Bridge of Sighs, Zaccaria, Arsenale and to the finish line near Giardini. I passed our 'Brodies Tours' support team near Arsenale who cheered me nicely along the last few hundred yards before finishing in a very nice 3.08.
Dave Watkinson and Shirley Worrall also ran good limes in 4.06 and 4.10. The heat of the October mid-day sun took its toll on Shirley who had become dehydrated toward the finish. However, she soon recovered well.
Shirley Worrall (Top) and Steve Broadbent cross the last bridge half mile from the
finish on the Venice sea front
The team all finished the race and were pleased with the results of their efforts.
Steve Broadbent - 3 hours 08 minutes
David Watkinson - 4 hours 06 minutes
Shirley Worrall - 4 hours 10 minutes
The weekend was rounded off with some excellent eating and drinking and exploring this remarkable City.
On Monday we took the train back to Trieste where we had a few hours to spare to explore Trieste itself. This was a fascinating City in the far corner of the Adriatic Sea, close to the border with Croatia. The weather was warm and sunny and we had time for lunch before catching the bus to the airport and our flight home.
Trieste and the Adriatic Sea
Thinking of Visiting Venice?
Marathon Score Ratings
Registration - 8/10
Start/Finish - 7/10
Course - 8/10
Registration - 8/10
Start/Finish - 6/10
Course - 10/10
Recommended - 9/10
The only criticism was the baggage lorries departing too soon. Could have done with another 15 -20 minutes to prepare before putting my kit bag on board.
Ryanair Flights - Standsted - Trieste - £50
Trieste - Venice Rail Transfer - £20 return
Hotel Room/Breakfast - £60 two persons
Marathon Entry Fee - £30
Contact: Athletics and Running Secretary
The team - Outside Venice rail station looking onto the Grand Canal