Hi! I’m Joie Negru. A local blogger, occasional volunteer, runner and a member of SanaSport – the local sporting association that is behind the The Sand Marathon in Constanța, Romania. I ran the 10K race of the The Sand Marathon in the year of 2015 and in the next year I participated as a volunteer. This year I’m running again at the 10K race. Here’s what you need to know about the place, the run and the logistics behind the race!
The Sand Marathon reached it’s 4th edition. The official website shows that there are 1766 participants enrolled in all of the 4 races for tomorrow. It’s a huge deal! There will be runners from all around the world: USA, Germany, Russia and some other countries. That’s the reason I’m writing this in English.
The Sand Marathon takes place in Constanța, a town of about 300.000 people in South-East of Romania and South-East of Europe. More precisely it takes place in it’s resort, called “Mamaia”, located in the North part of the town. The word basically means “Grandmother”. There are a few stories about the origin of this word, but one of them is pretty interesting. They say that a long time ago, a Turkish boyar came to this region for some business. One of his sons fell in love with a local peasant girl and came at night to kidnap her to make her his bride. He took her on a small boat and paddled away but the girl was struggling and shouted “Mama Lia! Mama Lia!” which means “Mother Lia! Mother Lia!”. While she was struggling she fell in the water and drowned. The scared boy shouted for help, “Mamaia” instead of “Mama Lia”.
On a more lighter note, let’s talk about the location!
This is the entrance to the resort, the nearest to the city. Just follow the massive wave of people or the sound of music from the stage. To get here, if you’re located in the city, you have a few routes for buses and minibuses (Maxi Taxi).
If you choose a taxi, choose well! Especially if you’re grabbing one from the GARA area (Train Station). Even if they show the right price per kilometer, they’ll usually try to scam tourists. The standard price for a taxi in Constanta is 1,79 lei per kilometer.
The price might slightly vary but not over 2 lei! Better to just call a cab by phone. You can call one by dialing 0241(localprefix)933 (for City Taxi), 0241953 (General Taxi), 0241657575 (Scorpion Taxi or 0241690000 (Romaris Taxi). From Gara to Mamaia there are about 6 or 7 kilometers so you should pay well under 20 lei for the ride. Or you can buy a 3 lei ticket and grab the 100 or 100C bus from nearby the Train Station.
I’m sure we’re also going to see some american soldiers from the military base in Kogalniceanu. You can take the bus from there to Tomis 3 and from there you should find the bus that takes you to Navodari and get off in Mamaia, near the Telegondola site. You’ll find the 23 minibus or the yellow bus for Navodari in front of the City Park Mall. It should cost you about 2 lei. Constanta – Navodari route – the full ticket – costs about 4,5 lei or 5 lei. But you will pay 2 lei.
The event is strongly held together by friendship! Sounds corny but that’s the truth! There are a lot of volunteers and most of them are runners themselves, part of the SanaSport group. That’s why the event grew bigger and bigger, because of their dedication. They know what a runner feels when running so they’re improving their management skills along the way. If something is slightly wrong bare with them! They’re mostly a group of friends trying to do better. There’s no real help from the Authorities. Even so, the volunteers are good at this. Some of them are entrepreneurs or event specialists themselves. They joined forces with a few Entities that really help and some sponsors that give you “goodies”. So the organizers are pretty modest when they say that this is just a group project among friends. It’s the biggest sporting event that Constanta has produced.
At the Starting Point, you’ll see the Kit pick-up tent, an ambulance will be at the scene, there will be portable toilets and changing booths. Not yet being the Summer season, there won’t really be a place where you can buy coffee or other stuff. So be prepared! You’ll get water, isotonic and other stuff during the race and after it. And a beautiful medal as well…
Unfortunately it will most definitely rain. In the past few years we had rain at this event but it wasn’t raining cats and dogs just a slight shower. Tomorrow that will probably be the case too. So…dress well! The highest weather point is said to be 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) but it will feel a bit colder near the Sea. Don’t overdress though because the weather is pretty “sneaky” and if the sun comes out (it probably will) it will get hot real fast. I think they should really move this event a week further. I’ll make some calls…
Oh, the Run! Runners tend to forget they will have to run on sand! Moist sand even! It’s harder to run on sand than on asphalt so take notice of that! Thanks to our “wonderful” Authorities the beach won’t be fully prepared for such a race. There will also be some sea shells here and there so be ready for that too. Hey, I don’t want to sugar coat it. It is what it is!
But don’t let that scare you. We are running here every Sunday of the week and we’re not complaining…that hard. It’s even more fun this way and you should really enjoy such a race! The volunteers will make sure that you’re well hydrated and a lot of them will cheer you along the way! This year we’re even having volunteers from a local High school and from the local Scouts.
There will be photographers here and there. Very skilled ones. So try to smile when you see one. Or not. Your choice!
Equip yourself well. Have something over your mouth and nose and get the feel of the run on a different setting. Be aware of the markers along the way and take notice of the Staff that will guide your run. They’re the ones with the word “Staff” written on them. Obviously. If you have questions you can ask them anything before, during and after the race. Most of them speak English I’m sure.
Apart from the medal, t-shirt and some other things from the sponsors there will be some cash prizes. The cash prizes amount to 26.600 lei or 5840 Euros or 6310 US Dollars.
The cash prizes are as followed: MARATHON. First place = 1000 lei, Second place = 600 lei, Third place = 400 lei, Fourth place = 200 lei, Fifth place = 100 lei. MARATHON-AGE GROUP. First place = 300 lei, Second place = 200 lei and Third place = 100 lei. MARATHON SPECIAL. You receive a 500 lei extra if you beat the personal best of Ghenadie Timbalist (Marathon: 2:36:02) or Ciortan Nicoleta (Marathon: 3:17:18). SEMI-MARATHON. First place = 700 lei, Second place = 400 lei, Third place = 200 lei. SEMI-MARAHTON-AGE GROUP. First place = 200 lei, Second place = 150 lei and Third place = 100 lei. 10KM. First place = 500 lei, Second place = 300 lei, Third place = 150. Also there’s something extra here as well for the Age Group category.
Anyway, this is just part of the Information. For the official Information and Updates, visit the Facebook page of The Sand Marathon. I’ll work on translations for the Status updates. Good luck to us all and let’s have a truck load of fun!