Tonight is the weekly Lyon Running Club group run and, according to the Facebook page, was going to be somewhere between 7km and 10km long. I figured this would be good for an hour on my feet at the group pace, and so the plan was to leave directly from work and fit in another hour at a slightly higher tempo before joining the group at the Place des Celestins.

The one downside, if it can be called that, is that it has been raining a lot.

I don’t mind running in the rain, but I do mind waiting around to run while it is raining. It can get cold fast no matter how warmed up you are and the group run has a tendency to start about ten minutes later than the scheduled 7:30pm kick-off. While I think it is nice to wait for people who might be a bit late – and let’s face it, I am still a new runner in the group getting used to the social dynamics – it would be infuriating to run for an hour, get soaked, and then stand around and wait in that rain for ten minutes getting damn cold.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to be the person people were waiting for, either. And my Anglo-Saxon nature of preferring to arrive ten minutes early rather than 1 minute late meant I would have to be resigned to getting a little cold in the rain no matter when the ‘go’ order was given for the run.

Still, I had my waterproof jacket and my waterproof cap and I was ready to suck it up, and so when I left work not long after my final meeting concluded around 6pm I was ready to enjoy myself, no matter what the weather had in store for me.

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As luck would have it, there was little rain on the first run of the night. I left work, headed for the Parc de la Tete D’Or and hooked onto the trail. I made a circuit that cut through the mud and the pathways, stepped in a couple of different puddles, but managed to stay on my feet the whole time. The rain kicked in for about ten minutes as I followed the trail along the Rhone and down to Perrache, but it was light and not at all that unpleasant.

I rounded out a 15km run with a pass through the Rue Victor Hugo, a cut across Bellecour, and a loop up and over the Saone before arriving at Celestins. I was quickly joined by a couple of other runners, and by the time we left for the group run we numbered about 30.

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The group set off cutting through the Presque Isle, crossing the Soane at the Pont Morand and then continuing up through the 6th arrondissement. The sidewalks are very narrow at the best of times and a big group of runners attempting to maintain a pace while passing the locals didn’t make for easy going. We eventually broke left, headed into the Parc de la Tete D’Or, and cut through to the centre of the Parc itself.

We paused at the centre for what seemed to be a Lyon Running Club tradition. Julien, the group speedster, gave the entire pack of runners a 20-second head start for a 500-metre sprint to the gates of the Parc, and he damn near caught the whole lot of us, too. About five people managed to arrive before him, and he passed me at about the half way point. I managed to reel in a couple of people who had gone out too fast, but otherwise, I just kept to my own pace. I had seen Julien sprint before and was under no illusions that 20 seconds was all he would take out of me in half a kilometre.

We headed back onto the Presque Isle, crossing the Pont de Lattre and passing beneath the road to come out at the foot of the Pentes. Some twisting and turning around the base of the Pentes led us to the Soane, then we made our way through the Old City before passing back to the Presque Isle once again. A final push through the 2nd arrondissement, across Bellecour, and back to home base and we were done.

Distance: 25km (15.4km + 9.6km)

Elevation: 144m (31m + 113m)

Time: 2:12:18 (1:12:56 + 59:22)

Strava + Strava

Image by Pierre Guinoiseau.

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