Living the Dream - Font Romeu 2016

I first visited Font Romeu three years ago when I went on a 2 week training camp with a group of ten like-minded athletes. I had a great two weeks and vowed one day that I would return and try and stay out longer and live the dream of being a full time athlete!

It's tough fitting training around work with a commute and being on my feet 8.5 hours a day, but running 100+ miles a week and working is the same for many runners, unfortunately running won't pay the mortgage and bills!

This year I was lucky enough to be allowed to take 4 weeks off work and return to Font Romeu. Font Romeu is a runner's dream location; high altitude, endless off-road trails and a track at 1800m. The village is situated on the vast plateau of the Cerdagne, and surrounded by many peaks, it truly is a place of natural beauty. The sports facility at 1,850m was constructed back in 1967 to prepare the French Olympic team for the Mexico Olympics in 1968. Over the years many top athletes have been to visit Font Romeu to prepare for various competitions. Recently the British Rio Olympics endurance team held a training camp there to prepare for the Olympics. Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe often used Font for altitude training, Paula even has a trail named after her! 

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I was hoping to complete a good 4-week training block out in Font in preparation for Berlin marathon, but my race plans changed due to my selection for Great Britain for the World 50k champs to be held in Doha on 11th November. So the 4 weeks was to build a good base for the 50k race and help to aid my training on my return to the UK.  The training was tough; high mileage and double days nearly every day. It made me wonder how I manage this kind of training and volume back home whilst working 8.5 hours a day Monday to Friday!

 

The 4 weeks were a great experience and a beautiful place to spend time, I love Font for its simplicity of life and relaxing atmosphere. It was fantastic to run different routes every day and I was lucky that the weather was amazing, I only ever ran in the rain once. The sun shined every day, the mornings were gorgeous, sitting with a coffee watching the sunrise over the mountains. Most days I would walk into town in the afternoon to sit and watch the world pass by with a coffee and sometimes a patisserie cake - the French definitely know how to bake! My favourite run was high upon the plateau at 2100m, it was truly free running. I would often never see a soul up there just me, the wild horses and local cows. I am going to miss running up on the plateau with its breath-taking views and nice clean, thin air!

The only negative about Font was running out of Meridian nut butter after two weeks! The local supermarkets equivalent didn’t quite live up to the Meridian range. It was a depressing day on my return getting back to normal life and the hustle and bustle of working life, but the good thing about my return was coming home to Meridian nut butters, oh and seeing my wife!

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About Stuart Robinson

Stuart Robinson runs for the famous running club Salford Harriers, which is based in the North West of England. His main running surfaces are road and cross-country, and occasionally track in the summer.

Greatest running achievements:

  • Being selected for Great Britain for the World 50k championships this November
  • Representing England on 3 occasions over the marathon and half marathon
  • Winning the Northern team cross-country title and 12 stage relays Northern title with Salford Harriers 
  • Consistency over the marathon distance.

Main goals:

  • Continue improving
  • Continue getting faster! 
  • Run a sub 2.20 marathon (current PB 2.21) 
  • Hopefully as a team winning the 12 stage road relays regionally and nationally 

To follow Stuart's running journey check out his Twitter here: @StuRobo1979