Last weekend I went to Porto in Portugal to run a 15 km family run, which was the shorter distance offered if you did not want to run the full Porto Marathon. I like to combine running with travel, as I find that it´s a great way to explore new places and gives the trip a healthier focus. Not only that, cities tend to have an extra buzz about them when there is a running event on over the weekend.
Now that we have been offering guided running tours here in Stockholm, I thought it would be interesting to see if there was a similar service available in Porto. Turns out there is, it´s called Porto on the Run. I booked a tour as I thought it would be interesting to see how they go about the tours, and of course I wanted to learn more about Porto and explore the city on foot with help from a local.
Our guide was Mauro, who was an extremely enthusiastic man with a lot of energy and passion for the city. We started at one of the train stations in the centre of the city and made our way through central Porto and across the bridge over the Douro river and into Gaia. We had a great view from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, which is the view in the picture above. After that we continued down through some backstreets and weaved through the old Port Cellars by the Douro.
Mauro gave us plenty of good tips on things we should try and places we could visit while in Porto. We also learnt about the buildings we were seeing and discussed the running culture in the city. We made our way back across the bridge and along the flower street, also getting a look at what is one of the more dangerous pockets of Porto on the way back. As Mauro was explaining this area was notorious for drugs, we rounded a corner to see a live drug deal going down at 11 am. We really enjoyed the tour, finishing off back where we started and rewarding ourselves with coffees and Portuguese tarts (latas).
If you are travelling to Porto, make sure you get on a tour with Porto on the Run. As for the race on Sunday, I had some problems with my knee but managed to run a 62 minute 15 km, not quite the sub 60 I was after but not too far off. I will have to return to run the full marathon next time!