Run Barbados

Claire Jackson on 10 December 2022
During a cold Nov in 2022, I received a call from the Barbados Tourism Board asking if I would be interested in going to Barbados to see what the country had to offer + to take part in a running festival called ‘Run Barbados’. After several questions to find out costs, logistics + dates, the checking of the diary + a mental check on how fit I was to run any distance having been on a bit of a break training wise, I thought, life is too short, I’ve never been to Barbados, I don’t know when I will get the chance to go again, let's do it. So, 3 weeks later a party of travel agents arrived at Heathrow excited to see what this trip was all about. An 8hr flight to Barbados + wow some actual warm air as we got off the plane, even at night. Just what I needed having been living through a cold snap with subzero temperatures back in the UK. Throughout the whole of the trip, everyone was very friendly + accommodating - you are guaranteed a Bajan welcome wherever you go! All the islands in the Caribbean are very different in terms of their own characteristics, landscapes + traditions + Barbados is renowned for its stunning beaches, turquoise waters + rum punch!

Most of the luxury hotels + resorts are based on the West Coast which is nicknamed the ‘Platinum Coast’. Being the more sheltered side of the island, it’s good for swimming/snorkeling whilst the South offers a different experience + a great spot for family holidays or with groups of friends, due to the restaurants, bars + nightclubs of St Lawrence Gap + Oistins, with its famous Fish Friday (every Friday, hundreds of tourists + locals gather in the small fishing village of Oistins for a knees up +to enjoy a feast of freshly caught fish n chips). The ‘Barbados Run’ festival used to be held on the West coast but they have now moved it to the East Coast where it’s cooler with the Atlantic breeze coming in + less populated, to make it easier for the event organisers. If you are an experienced surfer, the East Coast is definitely a place to bring your surfboard whilst the North of the island has many secluded coves + a rugged coastline to explore. It takes approx. 1hr to travel one length of the island by car (it’s 21 miles long + 14 miles wild). As with most places, taxis are the easiest way to get around + cabbies are a great way to the see the island as they are packed with lots of knowledge of the island + its history. The beaches in Barbados are the many reasons why people flock back year after year + they are constantly voted the best in the Caribbean. Every beach in Barbados has public access so you never feel intimidated to enter a beach. There are plenty of water sports + activities available on the South + West Coast + if you are looking to conquer the Atlantic surf then Surfer’s point in Christchurch is the ideal place to start. There are also plenty of championship golf courses to practice your swing on. Or why not try a catamaran tour for a bit of sun, sea, wildlife + adventure which we did, to relax after the runs + what a blast it was. Just what we needed to take away any aches and pains.

‘Barbados Run’ is an event that has been going for almost 40 years with a variety of distances to choose from – starting at 3km through to a marathon. You don’t need to be an experienced runner + you don’t have to ‘race’ as such. There’s even a 3km walk you can enter. Yes, there are prizes for the winners of each race + age category (I won my age group in the 5km race + came in the top 10 in the half marathon), but it’s about bringing together friends + families, + having fun in a safe environment, experiencing the friendly local culture, with the sounds of steel pan, whilst enjoying a cool ocean breeze + the natural beauty of the East coast. And the medals that each competitor gets for taking part are awesome too! Barbados is a great destination for year-round sunshine + warm weather with temperatures between 23-30’C. Across the Caribbean there is a wet + dry season, with Dec to Mar/Apr being a good time to visit with the least chance of seeing rain and lots of sun (high season). May to Oct is when the rainy season hits the Caribbean with heightened humidity too. There is very low risk of hurricanes due to the easterly position of the island. And rather than non-stop rain, the wet season tends to involve short downpours or storms followed by hot and sunny weather which dries everything out quickly. Some people rate Mar to May as a great time to visit as it’s a shoulder season, crowds are lower, but it’s still lovely + warm. There are races at the ‘Barbados Run’ event across both days with the 3km + 5km on the Saturday afternoon + a 10km, half marathon + marathon on the Sunday. The races on the Saturday were in the late afternoon to allow the temperatures to fall + it’s an early start on the Sunday to get you out running before the heat sets in for the day.

Barbados + rum go hand in hand + is on tap virtually everywhere. To get a better understanding of the drink, why not go on a rum tour. Or drink like the islanders in one of the many ‘rum shacks’ that are dotted around. Wherever there is a church there is a ‘rum shack’ nearby! After the races on the Saturday at the Run event, depending upon who is designated driver, there are plenty of opportunities to hang around for a rum punch or two + enjoy the sounds of the steel bands + properly experience a Caribbean night.

We were all very sad when our trip came to an end + it was time to go home. Lots of friendships + connections had been made, another destination explored + 5 days of sunshine, topping up our tans ready to make our friends back in the UK very jealous. Everyone needs a bit of vitamin D during the winter months + we all struggle a bit with this, not getting out enough + generally not getting enough sun. So having a winter break away in warmer climates is the way to go + one I would highly recommend. Fly back home with a bit of a tan all ready for the Christmas party season! If you would like to know more about this running event and/or a holiday to Barbados, please get in touch + I can give you further details. Why not plan a family holiday, set yourself a goal + enter one of the races, or just come along as a supporter + soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the sun + the rum punches! Or get your local running club or a group of friends involved. Start planning now before it becomes another thing on your bucket list that you have yet to tick off!