Lake Garda 21 Race Review: One for the Bucket List

Back in March I was lucky enough to be invited to try the incredible X-Bionic Lake Garda 21 (half marathon distance). If you’re looking for a race to add to your bucket list, then this is it! Think insane views, flat and fast road running and all the pizza and pasta you can enjoy. What more could you want? 

The distances:

There are two main distances to choose from the Lake Garda 42, the marathon distance and the 21, the half marathon distance. Both are point to point races and take place on the same day with the marathon beginning in Limone (you can take a boat to the start line!) and the half marathon beginning at the half way point in Arco. Both races finish in Malcesine. There is a bus transfer between these points which you can select when signing up.

On the Saturday there is also a kids race. 

For number collection you need to visit the expo, and remember your passport! The buzz at the expo definitely got me excited for the race and the goody bag was a very generous mix of treats and practical items such as calf sleeves and body wash. 

Where to stay and how to get there:

We stayed in the beautiful Malcesine, in a lovely little apartment called Casa Montini, which meant we were technically running back to our accommodation. The race takes place just ahead of the main tourist season here so whilst you’re treated to the area being wonderfully chilled and peaceful, be aware some hotels and restaurants aren’t open! 

We flew Ryanair from Stanstead into Verona and picked up a taxi transfer. The flight times worked really well as an early departure Friday and late Departure Sunday meant we could maximise the weekend without using copious amounts of annual leave.

The route:

Well it’s simply stunning, I can’t even begin to describe it! The majority of the half marathon once you’ve left Arco hugs the lakeshore on wide closed roads. That’s right- it’s a road race! You don’t need to be a trail runner scaling insane elevation to enjoy the incredible landscape. Best of all it’s flat- ideal for chasing a PB, a first half or treat it as a sightseeing tour like we did! 

I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘WOW’ so many times during a race. Honestly the views were out of this world, I stopped to take a few photos and just take it all in. Truly the most beautiful race I’ve ever done. The photos don’t fully do it justice.

The finish in Malcesine is set against the backdrop of the Monte Baldo with the finish straight winding through the quaint streets. Once you cross the line there is a finish area and it is a lively celebration – the perfect end to a fantastic race. And when in Italy, you can refuel with pizza, pasta or gelato (or all three)! 

Final thoughts: 

I’ve always wanted to visit Lake Garda and this race didn’t disappoint. At times I just couldn’t believe I was there. The scenery is simply unreal, it’s such a beautiful place. The race itself is well organised and has a brilliant atmosphere. There’s also enough to see and do to make a long weekend or even a weeklong break out of your trip. 

You can find out more about the race here

Whilst my entry was kindly gifted all thoughts are my own – this truly was an amazing experience and one I hope to go back and re-live!

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