Race Review: ING Luxembourg Night Half Marathon

This weekend I ran the ING Luxembourg Night Half Marathon and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I have tried to catch up with myself and run the DNS list from 2013 and this was the first that didn’t clash with a new race for 2014.
The 2013 DNS List
Berlin Marathon (28th September)
I had never been to Luxembourg, I have (TBH) never wanted to. I hadn’t even considered playing as them in FIFA Soccer when we played as the worst teams in Europe. But still I went. £70 for the flights and I booked a hotel by the Central Station (Gare). Now, this is key. Everything in this city starts and ends at the station, the buses to and from the airport, the sightseeing tours, the complimentary marathon buses laid on. So I would stay there. The old town, the bit you want to spend time in, shopping and drinking large beers in, that is just a short walk across a bridge.
There is a lot of history there, so I would spend 3 nights. And that is another thing, the race is a night race, they close whole motorways and virtually the entire city for you, so remember, that if you are running the full, it starts at 7. So that is an evening lost.
I would recommend arriving Friday and leaving Monday. The Expo is open both Friday and Saturday and the race is Saturday night.
The hotel room I originally booked was pretty shoddy so I upgraded to a suite. This was wonderful, it had it’s own balcony etc. The bed was comfy. It was then, a 5 the next morning that I noticed the truly horrific truth of staying in a hotel in Luxembourg, one that threw my entire perception of the beautiful, clean, friendly city in turmoil: there were no tea making facilities in the room!
But comedy aside at 6 in the evening I walked to the Central Gare and waited with an ever-growing crowd of neon and lycra. Buses were laid on and covered three routes around the city, picking up people every 20 mins. Although I will say that the closer we got to the start time the buses became more full, to a point of not picking people up. So next year, leave to get there earlier.
Back at the EXPO I walked with a huge crowd. This wasn’t the quiet time of the day before and the packet pickup and outside, where the corrals were filling, a hot air balloon waited, giant inflatable orange ING lions sat atop the hill, TV cameras pointed at the runners and a  helicopter buzzed overhead. This was a big deal indeed.
The Route
The race takes you from the financial district and government district of shiny modern buildings all the way into the city centre. There you run on cobbles and through the park with thousands of people cheering on. It was well supported, more so than Amsterdam and Paris in my opinion.
How I did
I really felt ok at the end of my 5th race in 26 days for Pancreatic Cancer UK. I was strong, I ran in the new shoes, which is probably key.
I have been struggling to find the right shoe for the entire time I have been running. I started with Nike Lunarglides and Pegasus. But then moved onto Brooks Adrenalines and Trance. Now, it is the New Balance 1080s. For the Missing People 10K in Clapham I tried size 9 2E width, for BUPA London 10K I tried the size 9.5 4E width. The 9s were too small, the 4Es too big. So I got a pair of 9.5 2E and things worked out well.
Proof I was there
Me on the right
Not that there were many. I could have blitzed my PB if I wanted, as I was so comfortable throughout the race. I did lose one of my Yurbud Ironman headphone buds though and this would have proven to be problematic if St Albans half hadn’t banned MP4 players. I also didn’t see fellow runner blogger and tweeter Joanna (@PaperInEurope) which was a shame.
But the bling…
The bling is choice!
And better still next year is the 10th anniversary, so I am expecting it to be even better.
Would I recommend the ING Luxembourg Night Marathon/Half? YES
Would I run the ING Luxembourg Night Marathon/Half again? YES
St Albans Half, the first half without music

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