Marathons & Solo Adventures in Lush Tahiti

Updated September 7, 2021
 

By Anna Lee Boschetto

As the mom of two daughters, it’s important for me to explore new destinations because it’s a chance to show my girls they can go anywhere, no travel companion required. 

From Facetiming at the Eiffel Tower to running along the Mediterranean Sea to hiking the Rockies, I have made a point of leading by example. When you’re on your own, there’s only one person you need to satisfy, and that’s you.

Travelling alone is something everyone should do, especially women.

There is something about the freedom of exploring a new destination on your own that’s not only liberating but it’s also downright energizing. 

Ask any parent about the adventure of navigating decisions and making compromises for others, and the chance to plan a trip alone seems like a joyful occasion for celebrating.

This solo adventure was going to be a marathon—or in my case, a half marathon. 

As a writer, this desire to explore has been a central part of who I am. So when my work life and passion for discovering new destinations collide, as it did the past spring for the Tahiti-Moorea Marathon, I knew I had to be there. 

I’m accustomed to taking the road less travelled and charting a path on my own. Even when I’m not racing, running always has me exploring new areas.

Navigating a city on an early morning run has become my initial introduction to towns and beaches worldwide. 

There is something almost magical exploring during the predawn hours, as residents slowly awaken and the destination comes to life. Similarly, there’s a magical sense of adventure to travelling on your own.

Whether you’re discovering historical spots, sampling the local cuisine, or tackling a destination race, the feeling of being on your own is nothing short of pure freedom. 

It’s a similar vibe on the racecourse, where there are moments when you feel lifted from the earth. As my feet were bouncing off the roads in Tahiti, there were times when I truly felt at one with the tropical landscape and many moments of peace.

Despite the sweat pouring down my face, at just the right moment, a light ocean breeze offered just enough reprieve to keep me going strong. 

Despite having raced the 21.1 kilometres distance a few weeks before, this was an entirely different race. The Moorea Marathon is about celebrating the island’s culture and lifestyle. 

While it is a competitive event, the organizer intends to give runners an authentic experience of French Polynesia from start to finish. 

The race route wanders along the ocean, with the golden burst of the sunrise coming into view within the first few kilometres. 

Along the way, traditional tribal music is played by local musicians amid the cheering crowds. 

By the end of the race, the lush, vibrant green mountain views and the tranquil turquoise ocean gave me clarity. 

The post-race party—complete with traditional Polynesian barbequed meats—offered a taste of the sweet and savoury blend that is central to this island.

There was no preparing for the rapidly soaring temperatures, even at the early morning start of the Moorea Marathon. 

This was not the race for a personal best or even to use as a training run. Instead, this was an eye-opening race, one for your senses in every possible way and one where connecting with other runners would get you through to the finish line. 

Runners, in general, are a friendly bunch with plenty of camaraderie at the start line and throughout the race. However, on race day, it felt as though Moorea’s relaxed atmosphere infused every runner with a bit of extra energy and an even greater desire to connect. 

I was grateful for the cheering during those last few kilometres as well, where it can be tough for runners like me who don’t reside in tropical climates. 

Tahiti’s beauty is incomparable. The island’s vibe is second to none. From the moment the plane touched down on the tarmac, and I breathed in the scented air, I knew I was somewhere special. 

There is an energetic level of excitement in Tahiti, mixed with a warm and relaxed island vibe that keeps everything in balance. 

Thousands of travellers visit the Tahitian islands each year. Some are looking for adventure, others are looking to recharge, and everyone finds that Tahiti is precisely where they need to be. 

The island of Moorea is a 30-minute boat ride from Tahiti. Local islanders commute daily between the two islands, which have distinct atmospheres—Moorea’s is a laidback one, while the intensity of urban energy is palpable in Tahiti. 

On Moorea, nature is your playground. Biking the coastline and up through soaring mountain trails, around every bend each view is more breathtaking than the last. The combination of the ocean tides, rugged mountains, and lush tropical forests is calming and energizing. 

On an e-bike tour, I ask my guide if he feels the same, and he agrees. One of the reasons many recent graduates flock to Tahiti is for the chance to recharge before real life takes over. 

On my last day in the Tahitian islands, I breathe in the salty air and think about where I’ve travelled and how different the experience is for me on this trip. 

I’ve always enjoyed road trips with friends for the opportunity to reconnect with one another. And there’s no doubt the enjoyment I get from planning my next vacation with my daughters.

But having the chance to explore a new destination with your eyes wide open leaves you with a different feeling, one that is both magical and revitalizing all on its own. 

Anna Lee is a content creator and writer with a knack for storytelling and a passion for brand building. She has held a variety of editorial positions at national and local magazines, including Oxygen Women’s Fitness, Clean Eating, Our Homes and iRun. 


A Little Piece of Heaven: Exploring Tahiti

Maeva, welcome, to French Polynesia and the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, names that evoke an idyllic island paradise, seducing romantics, adventurers and wellness travellers looking for escape and rejuvenation.

Blessed with majestic mountain peaks, turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, visitors to these islands find authentic experiences that are beyond compare. 

For centuries, the Tahitian people have referred to this as being embraced by Mana, a life force and spirit that surrounds and connects all living things. You can see it. Touch it. Taste it. And feel it, from the moment you arrive.

Covering over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is comprised of 118 islands spread over five great archipelagos. 

The three archipelagos most sought by relaxation-seeking visitors are the Society Islands, comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a, the Tuamotu Atolls or “Tahiti’s Strand of Pearls” and the Marquesas, or “The Mysterious Islands.”

Secluded, tropical and lush, these islands are one of the most spectacularly beautiful and diverse environments on earth.

A mixture of high volcanic islands and low-lying atolls, The Islands of Tahiti have in common a delightful blend of Polynesian and French cultures and a consistently tropical climate.

Curated spa and wellness vacation packages are available from select Tahiti Specialists for the ultimate retreat to French Polynesia. 

Visit tahititourisme.org to start planning your escape (be sure to check current restrictions before you book).

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