Run 149 : Monaco – Monte Carlo Grand Prix Circuit

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Date : 13th August, 2018

Time : 55’ 58”

Total distance run to date : 1490 km

Run map and details :

You’d think the start line of the Monaco Grand Prix would be a major tourist attraction with a plaque on a wall, a stand selling gimmicky tourist tat and the opportunity to be photographed with a replica trophy. Instead there are some scuffed grid markings on Boulevard Albert 1er – and the odd bemused tourist wandering round wondering whether they’ve found the right place.

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But after that it lives up to its billing as the most iconic grand prix circuit in the world. You quickly accelerate as you head towards the first turn at Sainte Devote (scene of many an accident during the grand prix).

From there’s it’s a ‘steeper than it looks on telly’ climb up Montee Beau Rivage. The cars take this in 6th gear at over 250 kph. I was probably going at about 7kph…

A left at Massenet and then right at Casino past the famous Monte Carlo casino.

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Right at Mirabeau Haut and then a hairpin at the “most famous bend” in the world aka Grand Hotel/ Fairmont (Loewes as was).

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Mirabeau Bas and Portier follow before you enter Tunel. For those unfamiliar with the route, Tunel is a long tunnel and, on tv, it doesn’t look like you could run (or walk) through it. In fact there are pavements on both sides that you can run along

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before you come out into the port area blinking in the sunshine. Nouvelle Chicane, Tabac and Piscine follow as you run past the yachts and the (strangely underpopulated when we were there) swimming pool.

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Down into 3rd gear (6kph) for Rascasse ,

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then Anthony Nogues (founder of the Monaco grand prix) – with great views up to the Casino and the mountains behind

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– and then full speed to the start/ finish line.

Each lap is almost exactly 3.33km so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that you need to run 3 laps to cover 10km.

The first lap went pretty slowly- there were a lot of people about and I took a wrong turn (which presumably doesn’t happen during the actual race… ). The 2nd lap involved a few stops to take pictures.

I therefore decided to treat the 3rd lap as if it was the final qualifying session for the race – or Q3 as it’s known. This session determines the top 10 starting places on the grid. And at Monaco, where overtaking is notoriously difficult, your grid placing is crucial.

It was therefore vitally important that I run the 3rd lap as fast as possible. Or at least it was in my slightly delusional imagination.

No-one else seemed to care. In fact they just went on strolling along the pavements as if it was a normal Monday afternoon rather than a critical part of a major sporting event. Allied to the fact that I was suffering from a bit of wear and tear on my tyres (aka my legs were a little heavy from the uphill section), it wasn’t easy to run fast.

In fact the third lap took me about 17 minutes. Which is roughly 14 times slower than Max Verstappen’s course record of 1’14.620″.

So what’s it like to run the Monaco Grand Prix? Well, there’s quite a lot of uphill, the pavements are crowded and it can be warm. You’re not going to do a PB here. But it’s a fantastic way to see Monaco and, even if you’re not a petrol head, it’s an amazing experience.

Run – or walk – it if you’re ever in the area. If there isn’t already a running race on this course then there absolutely should be. Ideally with a one lap qualifying session that determines your starting place for the actual race.

It just remains for me to say a big thank you to Liz, Charis, Nic, Matt, Charlotte, Joey, Freya and Sienna for battling through the traffic and joining me in Monaco for my first ever Grand Prix run.

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!


About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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