In May 2022, 130 London Frontrunners set sail for a long weekend of running and socialising in the Portuguese capital. We caught up with Marc, who was part of the international trip organising committee.
The London Frontrunners international trip – what’s it all about?
Roughly 130 London Frontrunners members joined the Lisbon international trip at the start of May 2022.
The trip itself included a Friday evening welcome dinner, a Saturday evening market night and dinner, the Sunday race – a half marathon or 10k – and a post-race bar evening in Bairro Alto.
Most people signed up through the club. But some of our runners had signed up to the Lisbon races in 2020 and 2021, which got cancelled due to Covid-19. They were finally getting to run across the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
We heard some rumours about a free cruise
With massive thanks to member Shane Cullinan, 85 of us sailed from Southampton a few days earlier, stopping in La Coruna in Spain before sailing into Lisbon harbour, on Virgin Voyages.
Virgin Voyages is a new, adult-only cruise line whose ships and casual service feel more like a beach club than a cruise.
The cruise included everything from a drag show and specialty meals, to multiple pools and decks and a suspended running track above the ship.
How was the race itself?
The race started out, if I’m honest, a bit overwhelming. I can’t say I had been in a group of 25,000 plus people since New Year’s Eve 2019!
There were stunning views once we started along the Ponte 25 de Abril, which connects Lisbon’s southern suburbs to its city centre.
There were runners from everywhere – I remember hearing Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, French and English spoken throughout the morning.
The weather for the run was 30 degrees and sunny, but we had a 10km and half marathon option, which meant there was something for everyone.
Despite the unseasonable heat, there were locals and tourists alike cheering the runners on. At the end, water, a popsicle and a banana were very much welcomed.
What were your highlights of the trip?
I’ve been with London Frontrunners for five years but usually run only on a specific day of the week.
It was awesome to meet runners from all over London, of all abilities, who came together to run, support one another and make friends.
Second, I fell in love with Lisbon. It’s the most photogenic city I have been to in a long time, with great food, great weather, gorgeous views and laid-back people. And the nata (custard tarts) were to die for.
But my overall highlight was standing on a street corner on a Sunday evening after the race with over 100 London Frontrunners – it was really heart-warming.
Why is it important to have an international trip?
The international trip is a great way to make new friends. It also forces people just a little bit out of their comfort zone – whether that’s the language, trying new food or talking to new club members.
Wherever next year’s international trip may be, members who join will get incredible memories, save money compared to booking independently, and maybe even get a PB in front of a great crowd while making new friends.