This weekend I completed the Paris Marathon, in French France as my daughter calls it, so I thought I would give my perspective on the event in case of interest.
My wife and I were competing in the event for the first time. She’s a proper runner as I would call them whereas I’m more of a plodder or shuffler!
First things first, the Expo to pick up our numbers where we were warned of long queues on the Saturday but breezed in when it opened at 9 and got through and got our bits and bobs very quickly. Great atmosphere inside, especially the second half of the expo that had more of the local races promoting themselves – the Marathon du Medoc being a particular favourite !
Onto the race itself, positives:
- A stunning stunning course. starting down the Champs, past the Louvre, down to Bastille, Parc de Vincennes and then back up next to the Seine river, through Bois de Boulogne and finishing on Avenue Foch looking up at the Arche de Triomphe.
- Water and food stops were a little unique. Water in bottles which is great to carry for a bit, dried fruit at each stop and oranges and bananas. I wasn’t sure about them until my wheels started falling off then I ate everything I could find
- Good goody bag with some useful bits including a bright orange t-shirt which made sure we blended in walking through the airport on Sunday evening !!!
- Generally a no fuss environment at the start. Having done London two years ago the start was a little hectic whereas in Paris due to their start times being offset it had the feel of a popular 10k not a 45 thousand entry marathon.
Bits that were less good:
- The medal. I’ve just hauled my 115kg butt round 42.9k (sounds more impressive in km’s) and it didn’t have so much as an Eiffel tower on it!
- Atmosphere going round. My only other marathon completed was London and maybe I was spoilt on it as the cheering and general camaraderie got me round some difficult bits but here the French were not so keen on general cheering and in fact in some parts (through the two parks for example) there really was no support.
But all in all, for a big city marathon that is reasonably priced, where you can get a place without a ballot and is relatively easy to get to I would say go for it !
My own performance was not great but through pure stubbornness finished in 5hrs40. I went off a little too quick, whilst carrying a previously sustained calf injury, I think in the hope that the sooner it was over the better, and the wheels came off at about 37km. Imagine a car designed to go at 50mph being taken to 80mph and things start shaking and falling off – well that was me! My wife got a pb in 4:24:17 (the :17 is very important to her).
However my highlight was the guy at airport security asking if I had won it because I was wearing a medal. I would like to say I said of course not….