When it comes to running and holidaying we are all looking for the same thing right? A place that has great, exciting races but can also serve as a brilliant family holiday destination.
In search of these types of locations many look for good facilities, friendly people and preferably a few who speak English! Last year I found a place that ticks all of these boxes.
New Caledonia is a tropical paradise, it has crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and beautiful French Polynesian culture, but best of all it’s just a 2hr flight off the Australian mainland.
I first came to New Caledonia when I went there in 2014 to compete in the New Caledonia International Marathon. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the country and I was blown away as soon as I stepped off the plane .I found that New Caledonia had the same relaxed island lifestyle, stunning beaches and world class snorkelling as Tahiti but was far cheaper, more accessible and much less crowded.
There are an endless amount of activities you can do including all of the usual island favourites such as swimming, snorkelling, diving, boating and fishing. There are also many cultural activities on offer as well as perhaps my favourite…relaxing.
On the running front New Caledonia has plenty to offer. They have a thriving running scene with great participation numbers in anything from track meets to marathons and trail running. New Caledonian race directors generally operate off a “not for profit” model. This means that they reinvest the vast majority of the race funds back into the athletes and the community which is just another great example of the legendary New Caledonian hospitality
A good example of this hospitality is at the New Caledonian international marathon. As part of my race entry I not only got a great beachside course with full aid stations but a pasta party with Japanese drumming show the night before, a high quality running top and a cocktail at the awards presentation after the race!! Also on offer at most New Caledonian races are impressive prize purses.
However there is more than just the marathon offer in New Caledonia such as the Transcaledonienne. The Transcaledonienne (or Trans- New Caledonia) is a team based 2 day stage race consisting of 37km on the 1st day and 28km on the 2nd day. The race traverses though some of the most picturesque trails that New Caledonia has offer. The race pays homage to their motto “Promoting health through sport and defending the environment” by inviting teams of 3 to run together across the gruelling terrain and experiencing parts of New Caledonia that are well off the beaten track!
Also on offer in New Caledonia is the Trail Des Cagous which is an 80km single stage ultra marathon. The Trail des Cagous has a history with Australian athletes as the sister race to the Surf Coast Century.
So if you’re looking for an affordable family holiday destination with some running thrown in check it out. I know I loved it and can’t wait to go back.
More information about New Caledonia can be found at http://fr.visitenouvellecaledonie.com/