After nearly 20 years, No Finish Line (NFL), the 24-hour race over eight days on a 1370-metre circuit, has easily become one of the most popular events in Monaco across the year.
The concept is simple: to do as many circuits as you want and for each kilometre a participant completes, donors and sponsors will donate €1 to Children & Future, an association that supports projects in favour of disadvantaged or sick children.
For the 2016 edition, 11,739 runners and walkers completed a total of 392,000 kilometres from November 12 to 20, surpassing the goal “to the moon” – 384,400 kilometres is the exact distance from the earth to the moon.
Since Philippe Verdier started the first NFL in 1999, some 69,000 people have taken part.
Mr Verdier expanded NFL to Paris in 2015 and last year to Oslo, and has said that he hopes one day to have an NFL every week of the year worldwide. His dream continues with the first NFL in Athens, which kicked off Wednesday, April 26, at 7 pm. The event is with the support of Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Patrice Loquet, who lives in the Condamine, has participated in Monaco’s No Finish Line over a dozen times and his personal best over eight days is 828 kilometres. He said that he stays motivated by pushing his limits “despite the pain”.
“For the Monaco NFL, I run day and night for the Automobile Club of Monaco team,” Mr Loquet told Monaco Life from Athens. “I sleep on the course on a bed the team provides.”
At the NFL start in Athens Wednesday, Mr Loquet said he’s in Greece for the same reason he runs in Monaco: “To raise money for children and the underprivileged. Also, I want to help promote this event that Hélène and Philippe Verdier have created.”
Mr Loquet, who describes NFL as “sharing, conviviality and fun to run”, has, additionally, participated in NFL’s initial Paris and Oslo events. “I meet so many different people, but I can also give advice to the cities organising NFL for the first time.”
He added, “There are three of us here in Athens. And enjoying a new country and spending a few extra days also adds to the inspiration, not to mention making friends with fellow runners.”