My early morning cycle to the boulangerie for breakfast supplies helps to clear my head for the day and it is lovely to get out into the fresh air while it is still nice and cool, but what I really like to do is to get out into the countryside for a long run.
I have always enjoyed running. ‘Cross-country’ was one of the few sports at school I was any good at and running has always been my go-to for keeping fit, clearing my mind, reducing stress, listening to audio books and, after joining my first running group the Woodbridge Shufflers a few years ago back in Suffolk, making friends and socialising.
In 2021, after we had found our first rental property in France, but before we’d made the move over, I joined a local Facebook group for the Eymet Running Club which organises social runs in and around the Eymet area a couple of times week. As a result, within a week of arriving, I joined their weekend social run + coffee and I’ve not looked back since. Through the group we have made friends with a lot of like-minded people who we socialise with now as well as run as often as we can.
The Eymet social running group meets Friday and Sunday mornings somewhere in the area. Friday tends to be around 5km and is especially welcoming to beginners and people looking to get back into running after a break for whatever reason. Sundays is often a route up to 10km but with options for shorter routes back and is followed by coffee and cake where possible.
Throughout the winter and when the B&B allows it during our open season, I drive over to a friend’s house near Loubès-Bernac / Thènac once a week and we spend an hour or so running through the woodland, vineyards, and country lanes around there. The countryside is beautiful!
Parc Bretou in Eymet has a 1km trail around it which is a good shady-flat-laps option. A short distance from Eymet, the lovely lac de l’Escourou also has flat and shady trails around it giving options for 3km, 5km and 8km routes. As part of my marathon training last year, I pieced together routes for my longer training runs making loops >30km, I also found a half-marathon route from Eymet Château to Duras Château, where I sat cooling off in a café with a cold beer while I waited for Tom to come and pick me up.
Eymet sits on a long trail called the Chemin d’Amadour, a 500km pilgrimage trail through some beautiful towns, villages and historic sites in south-west France. Earlier this year, John from our running group led us on a relaxed social run along part of this trail from the magnificent Chateau Monbazillac to the beautiful village of Issigeac famous for its Sunday morning market – about 16km of trails and quiet country roads. It was a fabulous morning. I’ve started to build a collection of routes which I keep in our B&B guest lounge, and they have proved popular with walkers and runners alike, so I’ll keep working on that.
There are also a lot of locally arranged races in the area, often largely off-road, often VERY hilly, including the LA FOULÉE EYMETOISE in October with 8km and 15km routes. Tom and I have signed up for the Cognac half-marathon in November and the Bordeaux half-marathon in December just to keep our running motivation up.
This time of year, with temperatures well into the 20s by 10am and often around 30 by the end of the day, an early start is needed, so I don’t get many opportunities to get out for a long run, but I try to make the most of the cooler days and the odd day where I’m not needed for breakfast. If not, I just enjoy my little cycle ride up to the boulangerie each morning and remind myself how lucky I am to live here!