Limassol Marathon 2018 #famtrip

In 2017 I took part in the Limassol Marathon and had a fantastic time. Whilst there I spoke with Becs from Breatheunity and am very fortunate to have been invited back to the #famtrip. In the lead up to the Limassol Marathon 2018 I have had the opportunity to talk about plans for the event, and explore all that Limassol and the surrounding areas have to offer.

Limassol Marathon
Flying at Limassol Marathon 2017

In my blog about the Limassol Marathon 2017, which you can read HERE, I wrote about my race experience. I also spent a week in Limassol with my family and mostly explored the Marina, Old Town, Zoo and the Mall. I stayed in the Park Beach hotel which is a lovely 3 star hotel.

The beautiful view from my hotel balcony

In this blog I am able to write more about some of the luxury on offer in Limassol. I have spent time with the top hotels such as the Four Seasons and Amathus Beach hotel. I have also been on some lovely excursions and to some amazing restaurants. I already thought the Limassol Marathon was fantastic. However, on this trip I have been able to learn first hand how passionate the event organisers are about ensuring that this event is #morethanarace.

Chilling out in the sun with team

Before I tell you about this wonderful trip, I am so excited that I will be leading the first ever Pace Team for the Limassol Marathon and Half Marathon. This is just one of the improvements that the organisers have made to ensure that runners get the full race experience, and everything they could want. You can read more about the Pickupthepace Team HERE.

Check out the team who will be pacing in 2018

#Famtrip

To start our #famtrip we had flights with Aegean, who are one of the event sponsors. We arrived over two days and BigCarl and Gill were on my flight on day 2. I’ve met Carl a fair few times, and we started a real bromance on our journey.

BigCarl and I about to take off

We joined Joe from #ukrunchat, Leanne and Catherine from #runmummyrun and Amy. Becs and Carole were there to look after us throughout, as were Andreas, Constandinos, Andrea and others from the #runlimassol team.

With the team complete we were ready to start, and we had a lovely first night at Puesta Oyster Bar and Grill. There was lots of fun and laughter as we got to know the team from Limassol Marathon, and shared some wonderful food and wine. I went for the sea bass, but in all honesty everything on the menu looked wonderful.

Wonderful food

The food was plentiful, and both the wine and food tasted amazing. We started with numerous sharing dishes, and it felt like the food just kept coming. This was a “running” theme throughout the trip, and my first experience of the excellent hospitality shown by the #runlimassol team. We shared a few drinks including my first of many Zivania, a Cypriot shot which was described as being 45-50%.

Lovely welcome basket from the #runlimassol team

After a lovely evening with everyone we returned to the Amathus Beach Hotel. I was welcomed by a lovely basket of local food and a bottle of Zivania, along with information about Limassol and the event. I can’t begin to describe how amazing the hotel was. The Amathus and Four Seasons are just next door to each other, with the Mediterranean sandwiched between them.

Mediterranean, the view from the Four Seasons

The two 5 star hotels share owners which means we can share facilities. I look forward to staying at the Mediterranean in March which is part of the #ukrunchat package. It’s currently under renovation, so it will be like a new hotel. It’s a 4 star hotel, sharing a beach and area with two 5 star hotels, so sounds to me like it will be amazing.

Early morning Pilates on the beach

We woke up early the next day for a day of exploration. Before that I met some of the team on the beach for a swim. The sea had a bit of a chill, and it was colder in March, but I jumped straight in and adapted almost immediately. It is a peaceful and beautiful place for a swim. I didn’t swim for long though as we had made plans with Amy for her to take us for a quick Pilates session before breakfast.

More food

After a bit of exercise to wake up in the morning I went for breakfast and was amazed by the range of food available. There was a chef cooking omelette to order which was an obvious choice for me.

We then set off for our first full day of exploring what Limassol had to offer. Something the organisers really wanted to show us, that what is on offer is much #morethanarace. When I visited Limassol in March I had a fantastic time, but it soon became clear that I missed so much.

Just appreciating the views

We had a brief coach ride to Omodos and here the views were fantastic. Our first stop was Linos winery where we learnt more about the local wines, and started drinking lots of wine and more Zivania before midday.

Wine anyone?

We had a good laugh with our early wine tasting. I’m not so sure about the Zivania to be honest and the insta stories of both Joe and I were pretty funny.

Having fun over a few wines

Throughout our day Andreas and the team had arranged for us to have a tour guide which was a nice touch. Nothing was too much and they were so friendly and down to earth, it made the trip even more special. Over the years I have done many events, and you can always tell the difference when the organisers are enthusiastic and their priority is clearly the experience of the runners.

After our wine tasting we went to Omodos village and stopped off at George’s Bakery to make our own bread.

Preparing to give Joe an inspection

I’m fairly happy with how mine turned out. It was really nice going and doing something different like this. The village was beautiful and we were surrounded by Cypriot tradition. The music, the handcrafted products and homemade food on offer. This is a side to Cyprus I did not experience when I ran in March, and I’m so grateful that I was taken here this time. When I go back with my family I intend on booking an excursion to share this wonderful atmosphere with them.

More fun and laughter at Katoi

We made our way through the village for lunch at Katoi Restaurant. It was a beautiful traditional medieval hall, and the staff put on a show for us, literally. As the food was flowing, we were surrounded by entertainment. We didn’t order our food as Andreas selected a number of sharing platters for us, so the food just kept coming, and each course was better than the last.

It was a lovely lunch with delicious food, great wine and even better company. We shared a lot of laughter during our meal, and all went up for a dance.

I felt a little sorry for the locals who were there for a quiet meal as we created a big party atmosphere.

Entertainment whilst we enjoy our food

The dancing went on and on until one of the staff came out with a glass on his head. We all thought it was impressive when he balanced another glass on top of this. He then carried on dancing and took us one by one to add another glass… when would this end?

My turn to put the glass on
Amy having to stand on a chair to put her glass on

It got to the point that we had to stand on a chair to add more cups and each time I waited for them to come crashing down. But they never did. The whole afternoon was so entertaining and such a treat for us. After all the fun and dancing our main course arrived and there was more food than we could eat, even for me. An afternoon I will never forget.

Collecting our bread in Omodos

After our lovely meal we made our way back to our coach, stopping off to pick up our bread. This was great but after this meal none of us were in a position to try it straight away. We made our way back to our hotel for a bit of free time and to freshen up before our evening meal. I took the opportunity to go and visit the pool, and chill out in the sauna and steam room. All good intentions to exercise on this trip were lost, and I blame the #runlimassol team. I was always so full of food and wine it just wasn’t possible.

Not a bad place for group photo

We met at the lobby of the four seasons which became a regular meeting point, then made our way to the marina. We met with Mr Spyros and the rest of the team for a meal at Pyxida Fish Tavern. Again the food tasted wonderful. I could have filled up with just the salad which tasted so fresh and full of flavour. We had a mix of dishes containing fish that included calamari, crayfish, grouper.

Whilst there I had the opportunity to talk to Mr Spyros about the event. He described taking over the event only 7 years before when it had only 70 runners taking part. He has visited marathons such as the London Marathon, and aspires to make Limassol a great Marathon experience. In just 7 years they have grown from an event with 70 runners to a race weekend expecting 15,000 in 2018. This growth obviously comes from the passion of the organisers. I described my approach to pacing, and one thing we had in common was the desire to ensure runners have a great race experience and have fun whilst doing it. This is encapsulated by their hashtag #runwithasmile.

After a lovely evening we decided to go to a club called Rumours. I have no photo evidence of this period in my life. There was a brilliant atmosphere, and certainly somewhere to go if you fancy o good night out. It’s been many years since I have been to a place like this, or drunk nearly as much.

Our #runlimassol kit, top and the 2018 hoody 💪

When we finally returned home about 04:00 hours I arrived in my room to find this parcel on my bed. This was a great reminder that we came to Limassol for a run, and had a scheduled 5k at 09:00 hours. The experience throughout the whole weekend was focused on what else Limassol has to offer, and if you are looking for it then they certainly have a great nightlife.

The morning after the night before

Needless to say I didn’t get up early as intended for a swim or run on the beach. I did get up on time for a bit of fresh air on my balcony, even if I do look a little worse for wear.

Our usual meeting point, ready to run

We all met at the four seasons lobby as planned in our new kit ready to #runwithasmile. For those of us that had arrived on day two it was the first time at the race start, apart for me of course as I ran in March.

Are we ready 💪

Andreas talked to us about the race route, and I was able to join in. It’s such a simple route that follows the coast, it’s impossible to go wrong. It was a great feeling being back on the start line. I know some people like to always do new races, and I certainly like to explore, but this is a fantastic race firmly in my race calendar.

Big Carl and Gill

It was lovely doing a 5k in the sun with this group. I started running in between everyone at first. As the group began to split I left Gill and Carl and joined Catherine.

Running with Catherine

We then stuck as a group of 5 with Amy, Carol and Leanne, taking plenty of selfies and insta stories along the way.

Having fun with everyone running along the promenade

We followed the race start for all races, then turned to follow the half marathon route before turning back. Lots of chatter whilst we ran is what I love about this sport.

The final stretch, and same finish as the main event

This is the view you get for the finish line of all the races planned. I can’t think of better views in a marathon, and as I said in my blog about 2017, the most beautiful marathon I have taken part in.

I think 2018 is going to be even better and certainly an event for everyone.

Great group to have a run with

It’s flat, it’s fast and it’s fun, what more can we ask for.

#runwithasmile

After our run we went for a quick brunch, because we had to get back ready for Amy, Joe, Leanne and Catherine to leave us. Because of the split flights they arrived the day before us, but left the day before. It all went far too quickly, and I wouldn’t have wanted to have been flying after the night we just had. We went to our lobby meet point in the four seasons and had a final group shot before we said our goodbyes.

Group Christmas shot in the four seasons lobby

The rest of the day we spent with free time. I had been looking forward to this time. I had grand plans of running 10+ miles, going for a sea swim, using the gym and chilling in the sauna. It was set to be a great day. Unfortunately the team from #runlimassol had ruined me the night before and it was far more important that I get some sleep and rest.

I could get used to this

I wasn’t up to anything, so I spent the whole time sleeping on a lounger. In fairness I changed my location a few times. First of all I chilled out by the inside pool, then Carl came down and we grabbed a view of the sea. We then decided to join Gill in her hotel and basically both fell asleep either side of her whilst she read her book, great company. On the plus side she had just finished a milkshake, just what we needed so we put our orders in.After a relaxing day we had managed to recharge our batteries and went to Dionysus Mansion. The owner, Yiannis, also owns Guaba Beach Bar and supplies the bar and entertainment for the race village and after party. This is a pretty cool and stylish restaurant, it even has swings.

Swing anyone?

We enjoyed our last evening together, and once again it was lovely food, but it was everywhere we went. I was already in love with Limassol and already decided I would return for the race in 2018, but now the team have shown me so much more.

Last evening in Limassol

On our final day we were full of plans, and it was always going to be hard to fit it all in. First of all we made our way to molos promenade again, which is the start line of races.

Should have brought my sunglasses with me… race route behind us

It was a beautiful morning and I definitely should’ve brought my sunglasses with me. The planned talk for this was cut short as we covered it when we ran the day before. So instead we just enjoyed a stroll.

Taking in the view of the race route

The views along this section are really beautiful and it is fantastic that the races start and finish at this point. The marina is also a lovely place for family and friends to wait for us to finish so perfect in every way.

Enjoying the last few hours in Limassol with the team

As we walked to the marina I spoke to the team about what I remembered of the 2017 event. I’m pleased that massages will be available again for us at the end. We also talked about the kids race, the race which probably caused them most stress this year. They have put a lot of thought into how they make this go smoothly. I’m looking forward to the kids race next year where both my kids will run. When Benjamin discovered I was back in Limassol the first thing he said was why didn’t he go, because he wants to do the race again.

The hidden marina

Whilst at the marina I discovered that it was twice the size I thought it was. I remember loving everything on offer there, but little did I know that you could continue around for many more restaurants.

Beautiful views from the Kourion

We then made our way to the Kourion Theatre and enjoyed a lovely guided tour in an interesting and beautiful area. It was great to see some of the ancient ruins and hear about some history.

The Kourion Theatre

In March I thoroughly enjoyed Limassol, but I had no idea about everything else that was on the doorstep. We didn’t have a long time here unfortunately as we had to get our flights, but it was a lovely way to finish our trip.

Learning about the ruins

I had an incredible time in Limassol and I am so grateful to the team for being wonderful hosts. Thank you so much to Breatheunity for giving me the opportunity to be part of this trip. And thank you to all the guys on the trip for being great company. I was already looking forward to the #runlimassol marathon in March 2018, I became more excited about it when it was confirmed I would be running the Pace Team. All of us will #runwithasmile. Now, the organisers have helped show me how this is so much #morethanarace.

I genuinely cannot wait to be back in Limassol, once there you just won’t want to leave.Vote for me 😊😊😜

Oh yeah, my little blog has been nominated for the Running Awards under blog category. If you read and like my blog please take a couple of minutes to vote for me HERE.


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