The Normandy region will forever hold a special place in the hearts of the Allied countries. It was in Normandy on the northern coast of France where the Western Allies of World War II staged the biggest sea-based invasion in history.
Omaha Beach was one of the landing sites. Almost half a million Allied and German military members were killed, wounded, or went missing in this battle. Today, the Les Braves war memorial sculpture honors the war dead and is a poignant reminder of our shared past.
The locals memorialize this momentous event in history through various celebrations. The Normandy Running Festival 2018 was one of those celebrations held to coincide with the anniversary of the D-day and offered various racing distances
Richard and I woke up early on Saturday, June 9, 2018 for the five-hour drive to Normandy. I pre-registered for the Le Marathon de la Liberte 2018 online and paid 42 euros for the marathon distance.
We drove straight to the bib pickup at the Village Expo des Courants de la Liberte. The expo was open that Saturday from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM.
It was still too early for check-in at 2:00 PM at our hotel so we decided to go to Omaha Beach to see the memorial.
We stopped at Au Siecle d’Or for an early Chinese buffet dinner before heading back to our hotel.
Ivan Vauier in Caen was our accommodation for the evening.
Richard had breakfast at the hotel the following morning.
Runners congregated at Parc Expo for the bus pick-up between 7:00 – 8:00 AM to bring us to the start line at Courseulles-sur-Mer.
The race started at 9:10 AM on Sunday, June 10, 2018 with a time limit of five hours and 30 minutes.
The race was generally flat. We ran past several of the other beaches where the Allied forces landed.
There was entertainment on the course. This supporter motivated us with her cheers and followed us at certain points on the course.
The aid stations were fully stocked and the weather was perfect for running.
We all finished the race at the Parc Expo of Caen, with my official time of 5:30:34. I received a round of applause from the refreshment volunteers as soon as they found out my nationality.
The goodies I hauled at the finish line was great!
Richard and I walked back to the hotel where the car was parked and immediately drove back to Brussels that same evening.