Athletics & Running
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!
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
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
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.
Worrall (Top) and Steve
Broadbent cross the last
bridge half mile from the
finish on the Venice
The team all finished
the race and were pleased with the results of their efforts.
Broadbent - 3 hours 08 minutes
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
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
Thinking of Visiting
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.
Flights - Standsted - Trieste - £50
Trieste - Venice Rail Transfer - £20 return
Room/Breakfast - £60 two persons
Entry Fee - £30
Athletics and Running Secretary
The team - Outside
Venice rail station looking onto the Grand Canal