One of my fondest memories was running in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow, Scotland while on vacation. Although I didn’t know about the race until I arrived in the city, my plans were flexible, so I registered and found myself among many thousands of others on race day. But it wasn’t until just before the race began that I learned of a peculiar rule that required all entrants to line up in numerical order according to their race number! Of course, since I was one of the very last to register, I dejectedly walked back, back, back, to the end of the line --- not wanting to be perceived as just another rude, uncooperative, ugly American tourist.
Suffice it to say I spent most of the race passing other runners. Still, it was a wonderful experience. I not only saw parts of the city I never would have ventured into as a tourist, I met some nice people, raced a new distance (25K or 15.5 miles), and was happily supported along the route by vociferous fans who handed us chocolate (!) as well as orange slices.
A funny side note is that I eventually caught up to a runner who was on a good pace, and decided to run with him the final few miles. Problem was his Scottish accent was so heavy I couldn’t understand a word he said as he jabbered away every few meters. I just kept on running and nodding my head now and then, never sure if he was asking for advice, if he was in pain, or if he wanted me to slow down or speed up. We finished the race and went our separate ways; he, no doubt, seeing me as just another rude, uncooperative, ugly American tourist.
All this is to encourage each of us to try a destination race some day. Sure, you’ve heard of destination weddings. So, why not plan your next vacation around a race in an interesting locale? Destination races as they are called are becoming all the rage these days. We know that running on vacation is a no-brainer, but entering a race on that vacation will make it that much better. Besides, wouldn’t you rather do that than stand in one more long line at a museum, or visit one more dark, damp, drafty cathedral? If you need more inspiration, check out this article.
Hopefully a destination race will forge a lifelong memory for you as it did for me, a memory I relive every time I look up from my desk and see the framed race number from the Great Scottish Run.