Whilst thinking about what to write for my monthly blog I had a few different ideas but decided for this one to base it on the two things that have played a massive part in my life over the last 30 years or so and that is running and travel but soon realised this would have to be done in a few parts.
Running hadn’t changed over thirty years it’s still the same case of getting out the door and off you go. One of the best things is you can do it anytime, anywhere and does not cost a lot. I have to admit the running kit has changed a lot over the years with introduction of technical t-shirts, fancy leggings, compression socks to name a few. But for us older runners we will still be seen in that old out of shape shirt from some weird and wonderful race we ran twenty years ago just because we like it and cannot bear to part with it.
Also when I first started running racing abroad was not so popular or so easy to do and not really something we did but if anyone did it was usually to run in a big city marathon.
However it’s a great way to find your bearings when you get somewhere new. I have come across many excellent restaurants and other attractions quite simply whilst out for a run which I probably would have never seen or found. Also I have been to many fantastic memorable places which I would not thought of visiting had I not found a race there.
However some places made such an impression right from the start I ended up going back again and again.
Davos in Switzerland proved to be that one for me but more about that later in part 2.
Traveling around over the years had provided me with many memories, plenty of ups, a few downs and lots of adventures plus a few hairy scary moments.
One early memory that lead to a heart stopping moment and one that Mike O’Brien will remember well was during a trip to Rotterdam for the marathon. Important fact to remember most European countries drive the opposite way so when crossing road careful looking each way crucial we learnt that after making a split decision to step out just as a car sped past literally the thickness of a piece of paper from our faces, you could feel the wind as the blood drained from us in fright. In fact I am sure it skimmed some skin off our noses, ha ha! Needless to say from that day on more care was taken. Didn’t affect the performance though as I sped round to satisfying marathon performance.
Back in the autumn of 1995 having decided my aim would be to try and qualify for Boston I headed over to Reims marathon knowing that as it was now October and needing to run sub 3.10 I knew there would be only one bite at this cherry as the race was in April six months later. No pressure after all my previous best was around 3.20 so not much improvement needed ha ha!
Well after months of training, with some evening having to run 20 miles to make sure I got all the long runs in I arrived in Reims full of confidence I had done all I could in training and it was down to what happened on the day. The race itself went as smooth as I could have asked for, the feed station were excellently maned by the volunteers and even ran alongside the runners with food and drink so we didn’t have to stop.. This was all a very big help and I sped round to a 3.05 time and qualification for Boston.
Next hurdle was finding the money to finance the trip. Thanks to some careful saving and help from my parents having received notification I had a place I took the plunge and booked myself a flight to Boston.
Around this time was when I noticed single travellers got stung very highly with single supplements and extra costs at hotels. This lead to a early lesson in searching around for a good deal. The world of youth hostels and experience of bookings trips for me without the cost of going through a travel agent.
The early stages of Symotours were taking shape.
Next time in part 2, Boston, Swiss Mountains and mixing with the athletic greats.
— Steve Symons