It’s hard to know where to start when you want to write a blog about quite simply one of the most incredible weekends of your life, but… I will try my best! Back in May, my good friend Andy had a crazy idea.. an idea that combined his love of running, and his love of ‘Running Around Europe’. A chance meeting, and a lot of Sushi later, the idea to travel to Switzerland to run the Swiss City Marathon was starting to become a reality! When Andy asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, I don’t think I even waited a second before saying yes. A chance to run a marathon, in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with two of my best friends, how on earth could I turn that down?!
Soon enough the #RunSwitzerland team was complete – Myself, Andy, Charlie, Evie & Dan were all set and raring to go! We all had our own reasons for wanting to run the marathon and all had our different goals, which made it even more special! The months turned into weeks, the weeks turned into days, and before I knew it I was packing my suitcase ready for what would become one of the most unforgettable weekends!
The day had finally arrived! My case was packed and after a good night sleep (LOL – good one) I was up at 5am, shovelling a bucket load of oats down me and was ready for the long drive down to the airport! I think there was a part of me that still didn’t believe this whole weekend was happening, and that at some point someone was going to turn around and tell me it was all one big joke; but after meeting the team, checking in & making it through security it was finally starting to feel that little bit more real!
The flight went by in a flash, and it was such a lovely touch to be given complimentary drinks, lunch & chocolate (although I was sticking to my plan so I had my sandwiches in my lunch box!) on the journey over – us Brits could learn a thing or two!!
Once we landed, we jumped straight on a train to head to Lucerne, the home of the Swiss City Marathon & where we would be staying for the next 3 nights. We all spent the majority of the train journey gawping out of the window – Switzerland was BEAUTIFUL! And I couldn’t wait to explore it properly over the next few days.
Once we arrived in Lucerne, we went for a quick explore and the chance to get some photos before sunset. The city was absolutely beautiful, it looked like something from a Christmas film.
Once we had all finished getting our photos, it was time to head to the hotel to check in. The location could not have been more perfect, we were right in the heart of the city, and perhaps more importantly… about 30 seconds away from a McDonalds (I was already looking forward to my post race visit!!)! It’s the little things that can make all the difference and it was such a lovely touch to be greeted with a ‘Good Luck’ goody bag in our hotel rooms, complete with a bag of personalised pasta!
Soon enough, we were on the move again, this time to the marathon expo to collect our bib numbers! The Swiss City Marathon is not a huge event, especially not on the scale of the marathons I have completed before, so instead of heading to the usual large exhibition centre, we had a short walk to another hotel where the marathon had set up. To be completely honest, I actually preferred this smaller expo. There was absolutely no stress, no large crowds and more importantly – no queuing! There wasn’t many stands but that didn’t really bother me, I hardly ever buy anything from expos anyway!
Now, I will warn you. Before reading any further, I would probably go and grab a snack. We were so fortunate to be wined & dined over the whole weekend, and every meal we had was incredible, I don’t think I have ever eaten in so many nice restaurants! And obviously I went for the pasta #carbloadingislife
All of a sudden, a wave of tiredness hit me – I think the early wake up call & the long day had finally caught up with me, I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and go to bed! We had a busy day planned on Saturday & I wanted to make sure I got as much rest as possible.
As part of our trip, we were giving the full tourist experience, which included taking a trip to the beautiful Mount Pilatus. But don’t worry – we weren’t hiking up any mountains the day before a marathon, instead we took the most magical train journey all the way to the summit, and I can only describe that it felt like we were travelling into Narnia! What started off as a cloudy, rainy day ended up being a Winter Wonderland!
But first, we had to get to the train station. Now I don’t know about you, but if I am travelling somewhere, it doesn’t usually involve getting on a boat! In fact I could probably have counted on one had the amount of times I have travelled this way before the weekend!
Due to the heavy snowfall and cloud, the view from the top of the mountain was somewhat obscured, but not that it mattered in the slightest. It was absolutely beautiful! Not only that, but the hotel & visitor centre was so swanky, I felt like I could have been in the middle of a James Bond film!
Soon enough it was time to eat again, but unfortunately this time I was being a complete bore and rather than join in with everyone at the restaurant, I stuck to my plan and had two ham sandwiches – living the dream right! (So I won’t bore you with pictures of that!)
As much as I was enjoying all of the amazing experiences, slowly but surely the pre race nerves were starting to rear their ugly head, but luckily after we returned from our trip up the mountain we had some much needed chill time before dinner. So I did exactly that – I went back to my room, had a nap and watched some Netflix. It was exactly what I needed!
It was then time to regroup (and no, all of us wearing grey was NOT planned! ha) and eat all the carbs! I kept it simple with a bowl of pasta, but after demolishing it in approx 5 minutes it was clear it wasn’t enough – so I ate half of Sara’s too! It was clear that thoughts of the marathon were over taking everyones thoughts, so we all called it a night pretty early on and headed to our rooms to try and get a good night sleep (once again, LOL good one!)
Now, I am sorry to keep you all waiting, but the marathon is going to get a whole post of its own, so you will just have to wait to read all about that!
But, what I am going to talk about is the incredible evening that was arranged for us. This was certainly one of those evenings where you take a step back and think ‘how on earth am I lucky enough to be here’
For the second time over the weekend, we were heading back up the mountain, but this time to the Burgenstock Resort Hotel & Spa for an evening of pure relaxation & bliss!
I honestly don’t think I had ever been anywhere as fancy in my life. A hotel & spa on the side of a mountain?! In Switzerland?! This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity! It was the perfeeeeeeeect way to relax and celebrate what we had all achieved just a few hours earlier, I don’t think any of us wanted to leave!
After our relaxing evening the spa, we then headed to Verbana Resturant for dinner. Um. WOW! This was definitely the nicest place I had ever been to eat, and I most certainly felt under dressed in a pair of jeans and the post marathon bags already forming under my eyes! The food was exquisite, and the wine, oh my goodness the wine!! It really was the perfect evening after such an amazing day, and it was just wonderful to spend it with everyone celebrating our achievements!
I would love to say that I woke up feeling fresh on Monday, but the truth is I got a terrible nights sleep and was wide awake from 4.30 (and I thought running a marathon was supposed to make you tired!!) but nonetheless I was looking forward to what we had planned for our final day in Switzerland before we flew home.
Our first stop was a trip to a local chocolatier – Max Chocolatier. It was right in the centre of Lucurne, and we were lucky enough to be invited for a private tour of the shop, kitchen and then of course, some tasting! I am a hugeeeeeee chocolate fan, so I was really looking forward to this, and it did not disappoint! The only downside was that we couldn’t stay there all day and eat more!
Soon enough, it was time for ‘The Last Supper’ – and once again, we were treated to the best at The Lapin Restaurant. The post marathon hunger had well and truly kicked in now, which was lucky as we had a real feast lined up! They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so I will let these do the talking…
Sadly, it was finally time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the most amazing weekend. Goodbye to the most incredible experiences. And Goodbye to the most beautiful country I have ever visited. But first, obviously we had to fit in one last photo shoot!
And as if the weekend hadn’t been incredible enough, the wonderful Sara had one final treat lined up for us for the flight home…. Business class baby! I’m just sad that I had to drive home later that evening & couldn’t take full advantage of the free champagne, maybe next time!!!
I would like to say thank you to all of the following businesses for making this trip happen, and for making it so special. It will honestly be a weekend I will never forget!
AD Switzerland Tourism, Swiss City Marathon, Lucerne Tourism, Continental Park Luzerne, Restaurant Bellini Locanda, Swiss Travel System, Odlo, On Running, Swiss International Airlines, Max Chocolatier, Mount Pilatus, Hotel Schweizerhof, Waldhotel Spa & Restaurant, Restaurant Lapin , Run Around Europe