Hello, on November 4th 2012, you’ll be organizing the Semi Marathon de Normandie (Half Marathon of Normandy). Can you tell us where it is located?
The start line is located at the foot of the Normandy Bridge, on the South bank of Seine near Honfleur in France. The finish line is in the center of Le Havre, near the Paul Vatine Basin.
How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?
It will be the sixth edition of the half marathon.
The race used to be a full marathon ran between Honfleur and Le Havre. It was created in 1997 to symbolize the link created by the Normandy Bridge between the two banks of the estuary. After ten years of existence, it was decided to replace the marathon by a half marathon that could be run by a larger number of runners, but keeping the symbolic crossing of the bridge.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
After the 800m climb to reach the top of the bridge, the whole course is flat. Running on the bridge among a tight pack of runners with a gorgeous view over the estuary of the Seine is one of the highlights of the race. The course then runs along the estuary on the North bank, then around a part of the Harbor, overlooking the impressive passage of container ships, and then to discover the new soccer stadium that will open this summer before ending on the Caribbean docks, bordering the Paul Vatine Basin where the famous Transat Jacques Vabre starts.
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
In 2011, the runners were coming from 12 different countries, 40 different French departments and most of them were coming form around Paris.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
There is also a 10km race starting and finishing on the border of the Vatine Basin, a 10km walk on the same route and a 5 km fun run open to all. We also have a Corporate Challenge for the first 3 races where a trophy will be awarded to the largest and the fastest teams.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
During the first five editions, the weather has varied a lot: sunshine, little wind, little race, but the conditions have always been acceptable and pleasant for the runners. All the more pleasant, thanks to the warm welcome on the finish line, with locker rooms, food, drinks and showers available in the Docks Océane sport center.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
There will be music at the start and finish line. A group of 30 roller-skater, the « Roller&Caux » will take care of entertaining the runners with music before the start. And we organize a lunch after the race.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Le Havre before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
We do have many good restaurants either in Le Havre or in Honfleur. The runners will also find restaurants along the Docks. As for the visits, there are plenty of them. I recommend visiting the historic center of Le Havre, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, or the more traditional visits of Honfleur or Etretat.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Semi Marathon de Normandie?
With three distances, we offer an ideal event for a club or a company wishing to mobilize its members in this year-end on different aspects as team spirit, group cohesion, health/wellness, not to mention the touristic aspect of the races!
Interview with Michel Pelca, member of the Normandy Marathon association for 10 years and in charge of public relations. Michel is also a runner. Having run several half marathons and full marathons enables him to understand the runners and the differents aspects of the race.