For my ninth marathon I will be running the St Petersburg White Nights marathon in Russia. Any marathon is a challenge in itself but running a marathon abroad presents its own set of unique challenges.
Too be honest I am not sure exactly what to expect, I know it will be different, but how different I just don't know. I suppose the main things I am considering are:
- Will the language barrier present any difficulties during the race? What if I don't understand instructions or get lost due to misreading signs?
- How different is the race organisation going to be from what I have come to expect from UK races? Will it be well organised and all run smoothly allowing me to run at my best?
- I am very much a creature of habit and a lover of routine especially when it comes to my running so how will I cope with being away from home, being in a different country, and a different culture?
- What affect will this have on my running? Who knows...
Why Russia and why St Petersburg I hear you ask as opposed to the usual foreign forays into overseas marathons that UK runners usually make to Paris or Berlin? The reason is that my brother in law and occasional running partner Tom is currently living in Russia and this presented an opportunity of a life time too strong to turn down, so when he suggested how could I not give it a go?!
So what are my main concerns?
- Heat and humidity - Despite the perceptions of Russia being of a cold country in the summer it is likely to be very hot and humid, not ideal running conditions. Just read how I got on running the recent Halstead marathon on the hottest weekend of the year.
- Holiday festivities - The marathon will fall in the middle of a week long holiday in Russia and while I take any marathon fairly seriously I am not going to give up having fun on holiday. So we will see what affect what I am sure will be an enjoyable holiday will have on my running and if any indulgences into sampling local food and drink (especially the famed Russia vodka!).
- Being out of my routine - As I have mentioned I am a creature of habit and I am concerned that being away from my usual routines will have a negative impact on my running although I am conscious of this being a mental issue to overcome rather than anything physical.
So have you run a marathon away from home or overseas? How did it go? What are your tips?
Even better have you ran a marathon in Russia or have you ran the St Petersburg marathon? It would be really great to hear of your experiences, please get in touch!