Alex Mills just sent this to me, as he is off for a swim before the Monaco Meeting.
If you were to place a bet of what you might see in Monaco on July 17th 2015, then you’d be odds on to encounter the glamour and glitz of Ferraris, yachts and casinos. Three things that play a vital part to the camaraderie of this famous city.
Yet for this day only, something better will be captured by around 15,000 spectators. The Monaco Diamond League. Although it may be nowhere near as obvious to the naked eye or your average awe struck tourist, both due to it’s geographic location and its low key press coverage. It’s with almost as much certainty that I give assurances of top class athletics at the Stade Louis II on this particular evening, as I would tell a passer-by to expect a glistening red motor vehicle to come roaring up the road towards the Fairmont.
So great are the fields, weather and on most occasions, the performances, that for those two hours, I at least, am able to ignore all of the other considerable distractions in the area and focus on an amazing spectacle of track and field.
This year’s trip to the principality is my third in as many years, and by far the most last minute of them all. Not because I didn’t want to come, but because I am recent graduate scrapping at the barrel to get my money. Rest assured, once I had some in my account, I knew where I was heading. However foolish and reckless my mother probably thought I was.
It is because of my past experiences that I knew before landing that I had made the right decision to travel on that 7am flight to the wonderful city of Nice, despite having to sleep overnight on the airport’s super uncomfortable seats. With my choice vindicated instantly as I continued the journey onto Nice’s wealthier smugger older brother, Monaco.
Even though the action takes place following day, one of my favourite traditions and parts of the trip is to meet America’s very own Leo Manzano at the track and get involved in his final race prep. This usually consists of accompanying him on his run along the mediterranean costal path for 20 minutes or so as a warm up and then jogging around the track post-session.
Unfortunately due to my inability to read bus timetables, I missed out on doing so on this occasion, although I did still pace his stride outs, whether he wanted me to or not.
It may be a fairly normal, ordinary thing to do, but this pre-event visit to the Stade Louis, alongside the press conferences in the spectacular Fairmont hotel are the things that really gets me geared up for the serious stuff the next day.
On to the race day and whilst the event may not have the spectator support or the depth of say Prefontaine Classic or the Paris Diamond League, this is the place to be as a middle distance nut, be it as an athlete or a journalist.
Over the last two years I have seen Mo Farah smash the British 1500m record in 2013, Manzano finish 8th and still run 3:30.98 in 2014. Not to mention some epic 800m races including the outstanding 1:57.67 world lead from Ajee Wilson last time out.
But don’t worry, there’s usually loads of good stuff for those of you who prefer the short sharp stuff too. After all this is where Justin Gatlin ran 19.68 for 200m and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde smashed the 13 second barrier in the hurdles last year.