Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 - 09:49
Sport: an international language
As a new resident of Provence, upon arrival in Marseille airport I couldn't ignore the number of football shirts proudly worn by the city's residents. 'Droit du bût', the club's famous motto, which means 'straight to the goal', was visible from small cafés to prominent graffiti in the city.
This region may be teeming with passionate football fans but my passion is reserved for another sport. One of the first things I did, having moved to the south of France to start a language assistant post, was to find the local running club!
I have been a keen runner competing in regional championships in the UK during my teenage years and national championships whilst at university. Running is in my blood! So why not make the most of the phenomenal 'Allipine' mountains which surround my new town and the extraordinarily warm temperatures? In England it almost seems strange if you aren't running in the rain!
I felt immediately at home at my first session with the familiarity of the striking 400m red and blue track. Much like my own club in London, 'Club Athlétisme Salonais' is like an extended family but instead of aunties and uncles, you find throwers and sprinters to fulfil those roles. It may sound very clichéd but having moved abroad to work, it has been really important to my first few weeks settling in. The competition season is fast approaching, with the first race in two weeks, so plenty of time to get to know more of the club, and of course, improve my times.
I haven't, however, completely ignored the football in Marseille. In a few weeks time I will have a football fan come and visit for a few days. We plan to see a home match at the magnificent stadium, sitting amongst the 67,000 fans. I think I'll need to buy a football shirt!