He had long planned to visit Egypt, in particular to see Cairo. But I wanted to combine travel with another hobby - running, so I started looking for which ones interesting half marathons are held in this country, and she has something interesting to surprise.
I found several half marathons, but chose them “Pyramids Half Marathon”. First of all, given the unique route that runs completely through the Giza plateau - the "home" of the great pyramids and world-famous buildings that have survived from the time of the pharaohs. The complex consists of Khufu (Pyramid of Cheops), Khafra (the second largest Egyptian pyramid) and Mycerinus (the lowest of the three pyramids), located next to the Great Sphinx. Near each of the large pyramids there are many smaller ones, as well as additional buildings. Picturesque, and most importantly - an interesting place from a historical point of view! So the Pyramids Half Marathon was out of competition.
This stage is traditional. There is an official website pyramidshalfmarathon.com, where you can register for one of the three available distances. Half marathon (21 kilometers) - the main of them, satellite distances - 6 and 10 kilometers (author's note - for the competition in 2021 the shortest distance will be replaced by 5 kilometers). The only restriction in choosing the distance at the "Pyramids Half Marathon" may be age. 21 kilometers is available for those who are 14 and older, 10 kilometers can run over 12 years, and 5 kilometers can be registered for those who are already 8 years old. As I fall under age restrictions and there are no other criteria or qualifications, I immediately went to registration.
The participant's entry fee is quite small and is 300 EGP in local currency, which corresponds to about $ 20. Immediately after payment, a letter confirming payment is sent to the post office. The main information about the half marathon is sent by the organizers about two weeks before the race.
I decided to fly to Cairo from Kyiv with a change in Istanbul. The first thing I did on arrival in the capital of Egypt - bought a visa for $ 25 and passed passport control. When the stamp was already in my passport, I went in search of a vehicle that could take me to the hotel.
The next day in Cairo began for me with a visit to the Sport Expo - an exhibition that takes place before the half marathon. After all, only there and only for two days before the race you can pick up the starting package of the participant. The exhibition was held at the Greek Campus in central Cairo, near Tahrir Square. And you could get to it only by QR-code from a letter from the organizers of the half marathon, which gives an entrance ticket.
The exhibition itself is small. These are several stands with sports equipment and information about the "Pyramids Half Marathon". So I didn't stay there long: I took the participant's package, which contained a brochure with information about the fence, the starting number, a T-shirt, a backpack, the participant's bracelet and an entrance ticket to the Giza plateau, and went for a walk through the streets of Cairo.
It's time to prepare for the start
I will say at once that participation in the "Pyramids Half Marathon" will open you a unique opportunity to see with your own eyes the only surviving ancient wonder of the world. The race will be especially interesting for those who run a half marathon. Its route from one circle runs along the asphalt road that crosses the Giza plateau.
The competition starts at 8 am, which is not surprising for the hot Egyptian climate and the desert race. Participants are allowed to start from 06:30 in the morning, half an hour later - at 7:00 - they are joined by fans. The main thing on this day - do not forget the hotel ticket, without which the Giza plateau can not get.
Participants in all three distances start from one point. The "Pyramids Half Marathon", like any other race, begins with an introductory speech by the organizers. And then the starting countdown and - forward!
The first 300 meters of the route are a plain. Then it becomes more interesting - a gentle climb begins. After the first ascent, an unforgettable landscape opens up: on one side - a panorama of Cairo, on the other, in the distance - the outlines of the pyramids of Cheops and Khafre. After this picturesque stretch, you can relax a bit on the descent, but do not relax. Because then - turn and run in the opposite direction.
As a regular participant in various races, I can say that the first 7 kilometers of the "Pyramids Half Marathon" are quite specific. First, through a joint start for three distances. At the first stage, a lot of people run on the track, all at different speeds, and it interferes a bit. Secondly, the route has two additional turns for runners at 6 and 10 kilometers, and this is also sometimes confusing. And only from 7-8 kilometers of the route the half marathoners run to the finish.
From 9 to 13 kilometers the route turns into a continuous long descent into the valley. And here the runners will find a pleasant surprise for the eyes - a beautiful view of Cairo with all its attractions. And after 13 kilometers the participants turn around and count in the opposite direction. This means that the same long descent turns into a long ascent. So the distance from 14 to 20 kilometers is not the easiest.
The last kilometers of the "Pyramids Half Marathon" are a flat, straight route and a finish ahead. For which you can relax and focus only on contemplation of the surrounding beauty. By the way, if you wish, participants can walk around the pyramids and enjoy not only their own achievements, but also the beauty and uniqueness of truly majestic monuments.
Unique race - special impressions
The location, the atypical route and the surrounding landscapes make the "Pyramids Half Marathon" truly unique. And this greatly affects the impressions that the race itself leaves. And there were no questions about the organization of the competition itself - it was a level "above average", especially considering that this is a fairly new event.
The route of the half marathon was well marked. Approximately every 2.5 kilometers of the treadmill there were help and hydration points, where there was water, isotonic and fruit. Pacemakers were also present at the distance, but it was not easy to notice them, because they did not stand out among the participants, except for the inscription on the T-shirt. But even some shortcomings did not spoil my impression of "Pyramids Half Marathon". if you want to combine running and traveling - this is one of the best options.