News Rick's Russian Adventure Rick's Russian Adventure

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Report by Ed Heardman
2015-09-27 14:03:13

Rick's Russian Adventure

In recent years, Rick Ryder has taken in marathons in Italy, Spain and Greece - read on for details of his latest travel experience at the Moscow Marathon. Including lots of helpful advice and links if you fancy making the trip next year! Thanks for sharing with us Rick, and well done!!

Moscow Marathon, a logistical nightmare  - was it worth it?

Because of the weak and falling rubble, Russia is a bargain destination! 

Moscow Marathon opens its entries mid February the cost is £11, for which you will receive a quality Adidas Technical shirt, water, energy drinks and fruit every 5km along the route, oh and a finishers medal so big you could eat your dinner off it! You will need a medical certificate stamped and signed by a doctor. You will need proof of travel/medical insurance:- http://moscowmarathon.org/en/

The easyjet flight Gatwick to Moscow booked 7 months in advance was only £88 return Friday to Monday:- http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Booking.mvc

Hotel accommodation, I researched start finish area and centre of Moscow for sightseeing and settled for Mini Hotel Kvartira №2 at approx £34 a night:- http://www.booking.com/hotel/ru/inn-on-komsomolskiy-9.en-gb.html

You will need 6 months left upon your return from Russia before expiry of passport and a visa application http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/tourist.htm  cost £50 +£38 service charge +£9 courier delivery of returned passport (ouch!) Note; you will need to attend the vfs global office to submit visa in person at which time you will be fingerprinted! so dial in the cost of a weekday visit to London via Barbican underground station, the waiting time is only 10 minutes in visa office thankfully. I applied for a 72hr Tourism.

My hotel was not very proactive in sending me the necessary booking reference / accommodation vouchers required for a visa so I engaged the help of Just Go Russia:- http://www.justgorussia.co.uk/en/russian_visa_full_assistance.html

They charged me £10 and gave me all the host tourist company numbers required!

(if you book a bigger say £100 a night hotel this would not be required as the bigger hotels would furnish all required accommodation vouchers etc, it soon became clear all these hoops may have been put in place as a reciprocal action, as we are making it increasingly difficult for Russian nationals to visit UK.

Lunch time Friday 18th and I arrived at Domodedovo airport and purchased an Aeroexpress train ticket to Paveletsky station Moscow (45 mins, approx £10 rtn 30 day ticket) Moscow Domodedovo Airport all Underground (Metro) tickets are only 50p per journey. Now I'm no train spotter but the Metro is worth the Moscow visit alone look at the pictures:-http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/journeysbyrail/11590175/Moscow-Metro-80-years-of-the-worlds-most-beautiful-underground.html?frame=3295727

45 minutes metro (to Sportivnaya station) trip later and I have walked into the Moscow Marathon Expo located at State Central Concert Hall Rossiya at the Luzhniki Sports Complex, I presented my Med Cert, passport ID and collected my race pack/bib including required wrist bands for starting pens:- The Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex | Stadiums | Beauty, health, sports | Where | Moscow Travel Portal

Saturday was sightseeing day, walking along the river admiring the golden onion topped churches and the imposing Kremlin walls, a fantastic well policed, clean city where I felt safe being a lone tourist Take a tour | Where | Moscow Travel Portal.

Sunday 20th September  - Race day

Up at 0730, a breakfast of a couple of sweet oat bars washed down with black coffee and peach juice then the short walk to the Metro then onto Sportivnaya station. The atmosphere is incredible as thousands file out of the metro on towards Luzhniki Sports Complex. All competitors must pass through metal detectors and bag searches showing wrist bands. Bag drop and race pen entry went without incident or stress and I soon found myself counting down and off and running, really early on you find yourself running through the modern architecture of the new city Inspiration Modern Architecture Skyscrapers.

The 10km runners who all set off with you are directed off to the right as you run down wide 6 lane roads with a policeman at every lamppost. Security was high but there are few spectators in this area. At 12kms there's the first climb into the older part of the city but for the most part the Marathon route is alongside the river with all the iconic views. At about 22kms I had a little walk at the brow of a hill then oops! I watched my 4.15 pacer flag slip by at 25km and the 4.30 pacer flag at 33km said to me just get your old crate home.

Running past red square and the Kremlin walls was great with better support here. Water stations are every 5kms and with one exception well stocked and I'm blaming the hills the heat and (the truth - lack of practice miles!) for not pushing on ..but happy to claim the t shirt and medal. What a fantastic city, thank you Moscow. (yes it was worth the Red tape!). Where's Wally next?

Rick Ryder

 

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