Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are you a sports person?

Coming here after thirty years in central London, one of the things I promised myself to do was get back to my old level of fitness when I used to go jogging virtually everyday, around Battersea Park. I have found it is very hard to live on the Mediterrean coast and not get fit, thanks largely to the glorious weather (average 300 sunny days a year), good food, good local wines and the availablity of so many sports opportunities.

Among the sports available are walking, climbing, jogging; tennis, golf; sailing, swimming, diving, surfing, sailboarding; skiing, mountaineering (the Pyrenees are on our doorstep); as well as every form of fitness training, aerobics, weight lifting. The wide range of teams sports include rugby (allez Perpignan!) and football, from youngsters to senior adult teams; basketball, handball, squash etc with facilities in virtually every town or a few minutes drive away.

There are yacht marinas at Argel├Ęs-Port, St Cyprien and Canet, and further up the coast at Barcares, Leucate and several other resorts on to Montpellier. Canet boasts an Olympic size swimming pool, often used by the French national team; and Font Romeau in the Pyrenees is an international centre for high altitude training, in conjunction with the university of Perpignan. At St Cyprien there is a former national sports training centre, now owned by the commune, with impressive indoor and outdoor facilities. There is also an excellent golf course.

My little town boasts 7 kms of flat sandy beaches and a 3 km promenade used by joggers and roller bladers of all shapes, sizes and ages, doing their own thing. What is impressive is the wide range of standards from those just about staggering along (me on some days) to the superfit. But nobody pays any attention to anyone else and all are welcome.