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This time last year I was making a mad dash to the airport after getting my timings wrong for my flight to New York for my bucket list race…the New York City Marathon…an event I had been dreaming about for almost a decade.

It was everything I expected it to be and more (you can read my race report here)…and I will be cheering on my pals who are heading out there to take part, you will love it peeps.

Anyway.

How do you get into this traveling for races malarky?

I have traveled to more than 20 different countries for fitness-related reasons, sometimes for stand-alone races, sometimes for press trips and sometimes for fitness added on to a business trip or holiday.

Believe it or not, it’s easier than you might think and often cheaper too. So here are my top tips for making it a reality.

Tip Number One, always pack your run kit

Running kit doesn’t take up much room in your bag, especially if you wear your runners to the airport…in fact, I can pretty much travel anywhere for 5 days with just carry on, including my running gear.

If you have your running kit with you there is a much higher chance that you will be active, even if that’s just utilising the hotel gym, or going on a longer than normal walk.

Packing a small backpack, and a water bottle can be multipurpose too.

Better to take it and not use it than miss out on an opportunity to run…you will see stuff that others won’t, and you will have great garmin images and photos to show off with too.

Tip Number Two, plan ahead

One of my most exciting runs was doing the Greenpoint Park parkrun in Cape Town a few years ago. I was speaking at a conference and worked out that if I was clever I could fit in a parkrun the morning of my talk.

If you are a parkrun fan then this is a great and safe way to run in familiar but unfamiliar surroundings, so check if there is one and reach out to the run director with any questions

Even if there isn’t any races coinciding with a trip check to see what local parks there are, or local running routes used by the local runners…where there are runners to be found I have always found it safe to run.

Tip Number Three, go on a local tour

There are a range of ways to do this. Check AirB&B experiences in your destination to see if there are walking, running or cycling tours…there may also be hikes, paddle boarding, yoga and all sorts…and it’s often lone travelers so a great and safe way of meeting new people while traveling.

Around 10 years ago I went on a trip to St Lucia by myself (my plan was to write my first novel) and after 4 days of being in a lovely resort I was desperate to get out and go for a longer run, and a local chap offered to run with me the 5 miles to Pigeon Island and back…it was the highlight of my trip. Not sure I’d be so brave these days though.

Tip Number Four, visit some friends who live in cool places

Whenever I visit friends I let them know I might need to go for a run…sometimes this will mean they run with me, and sometimes not. I once met a friend in Lisbon for the weekend and did a half marathon.

But I’ve run all over the UK and further afield doing this, and friends will often help you with the best routes etc.

This can really help to keep cost of run tourism quite low

Tip Number Five, commit to a proper race

Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to book an overseas race. There are heaps of them to choose from at all distances.

Do your research, and then just go for it. Yes, they can be expensive but they don’t need to be especially if you are good at finding cheap deals and go as a group. Look at hostels and alternative forms of accommodation as well as hotels.

Going as a larger group takes a lot of the fear out of it, two years ago we did a Too Fat to Run trip to EuroDisney Paris for their race weekend and it was epic….you can read my review here.

Be brave. Be bold. Go travel.

As part of next years 10 year anniversary of the Too Fat to Run blog I am organising 10 different mass participation events for our fans and followers to get involved with.

In March we will be heading to Cyprus for the Limassol Half Marathon. Sign up before Friday for the earlybird price.

Book your race place here

Price breakdown (estimates)

  • 27 euros race entry
  • Flights from UK £100-£150
  • Around £100 with 5 sharing an apartment

Head over to the Too Fat to Run Community Facebook Group to discuss options and find out who else is going. We will be arranging logistics closer to the time in a special FB group….and I will be leading a spring half marathon training group.

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