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Achilles Tour to Monaco 2022

The Achilles tours returned in Monaco 2022 after a four-season break due to COVID regulations.


Rian McCawley,
Social Sec 2021-22


23 August 2022


In Early August, almost 90 CUAC and OUAC members, past and present, descended upon the opulent city-state of Monaco for the first Achilles tour since Estonia in 2018. It was a short trip timed to coincide with the Hercules Diamond League, as well as an open track meet and some warm-weather training on the Mediterranean Coast. On Wednesday the 10th, Achilles athletes and other local clubs were granted early access to Stade Louis II to compete in an open entry match before the Diamond League. The events included the 1000m, 400m, 200m and 100m - all of which saw Achilles athletes competing during the afternoon and evening. Two particularly impressive performances were from our very own CUAC President, Sam Clarke, and his Dark Blue rival, Maranga Mokaya, who ran 47.42 and 47.17 respectively, taking 1st and 2nd in their 400m race. Other performances of note were from Sarah Blockley, who earned 3rd place in her 1000m race with a time of 3:07.16, Maia Hardman, who was the 7th elite woman in the 1000m with 2:57.37, and alumnus Jonathan Escalante-Phillips, who finished as 4th elite man in the 1000m with 2:28.91. To add to the experience of competing in such a grandiose stadium, it turned out that Paula Radcliffe was herself awarding prizes to medalists, and interviewing athletes as they finished their races - a real treat for some of our lucky athletes. Sydney McLaughlin was also watching from the stands, and was later spotted in Nice airport by a star-struck CUAC member. Once the open meet concluded, Achilles athletes were ushered off the track and into the stands, to be replaced with Diamond league track stars. What followed was an incredible evening spent spectating world leading performances, as well as Diamond League, national, and match records. After the match, a sizable group of Achilles members managed to make their way into the official(?) afterparty and some were even lucky enough to get chatting to some of the previously mentioned track stars… The rest of the trip’s days were filled with hikes up to la Tête De Chien - a 550m peak towering over Monaco, strolls to Cap d’Ail’s Mala Beach - with beautifully clear blue water, trips to Nice stadium - for some sun-baked training sessions, and walks around the city - catching the Changing of the Guard at the Prince’s Palace. The evenings were filled with group dinners, firework displays, Monte Carlo Casino visits, bars, and late night swims. En tout, it was a fantastic trip for athletes and spectators alike, with plenty of inter-university socialising and team building. The tour was excellently organised given its size and complexity - a feat that is owed almost entirely to Lea Wenger, to which we all owe our thanks. For those of you that have thoroughly enjoyed the 2022 Achilles Tour, and for those of you who would like to join next time, please look out for information about the next tour, due to take place in the next few years.

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