Crazy Friday nights… running in Schaerbeek

This week we set our sight on racing in yet another neighbourhood. Francesco ran the Schaerbeek 10k yesterday night, and guess what? He won! I played the supportive wife – loud cheering included, of course. I was bursting with proud as every time he passed in front of me he was leading: I know he likes to run in front, and it was lovely for him to win after leading the race from the first metre.

Considering the pitch black and the crazy course – which went into a school and the city hall, up the stairs, down the stairs, etc etc – his time was excellent. We stayed for the prize-giving ceremony even though it was soooooo late for us – we are usually in bed by 10 pm ;-P Another crazy Friday night is in the books…

SnapseedAnd this is what happens when he is so fast all you can see is the reflective part of his shoes. From behind!

Race recap by Francesco

Here comes my race recap… It was a nice race in the end, interesting, even though I’m glad that Chiara did not take part in it because I would have been sooooo worried otherwise (see “running in the dark” or “run up and down the stairs”). The start was not as messy as I feared it would be, despite the fact that after 300 meters there was a sharp turn to the left, and I decided to take the lead right from the beginning. Thank god I did so: when we got into the park (a couple of km after the start), it was pitch dark, no light whatsoever, and I just followed the red light of the bike right in front of me, trying to understand where to go. The road was also bendy, with a couple of sharp and slippery turns, and it was also quite hilly: I did not know the place and facing it in the dark was not easy, but I got out of it with 10″ on the following group (Chiara was there to cheer me on and keep me updated on the gaps). Then, we entered the neighbourhood and it was nice to run in its wide streets, even though the audience was a little bit silent and there where cars almost everywhere. The police was escorting us, so by honking and flashing their lights, they were able to make them move, but it was not so relaxing for me, since I had to run in all that mess. After a while, we got into the first building, a school: I crossed a gym, a couple of halls, one classroom (I think) and then got out in the street again…after a hill, several turns, another couple of hills and some downhills, it was time to pay a visit to the mayor: we entered the city hall, climbed a couple of flights of stairs and passed through the office of the mayor, who was standing there to give us a “high five”. I was so focused on where to go and avoid losing too much seconds on the others that I totally ignored him…I hope he did not get angry at me for that! Nevertheless, with the stairs and the turns in the offices and corridors, I almost lost the entire gap I had built and therefore I had to push also on the last few km to secure my first place. 

At the finish line, I was happy; it has been the first time after a while that I had the possibility to run a race as I like it (always in front, setting the pace and just trying to keep the others away with a good, steady pace) and it is always nice to win. All in all, I can recommend the race if you are looking for something different and you are not afraid of running in the dark or up and down the stairs: the organisers are really committed to the success of the event and the competition is good, as much as the atmosphere is friendly and easy-going. Schaerbeek is not so runner-friendly as far as the traffic is concerned (with the exception of the parks), so maybe the race can be a good excuse to run in the streets and discover them (and the buildings) in a particular way. Once again, Chiara and I had a nice experience, discovering a new place thanks to the Run in Brussels Challenge and our passion for running.

Here comes the link to an article published by a local newspaper: you can find some pics if you are interested in the event! DHnet article