I flew to Paris and ran a marathon! The 2015 Paris Marathon was my third marathon and second international marathon.
Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris is one of the largest marathons in the world. I’m guessing one of the top 3 marathons. Approximately 140 nationalities and 50,000 runners gathered at the start line on the Champs Elysees to run one the most scenic and prestigious marathons in the world. It always renews my faith in humanity to run in events where people of all races, creeds and orientation gather together in peace and mutual support to complete 26.2 miles (42.2KM). Don’t believe world peace is possible? Go run a marathon.
I spent 5 all-too-brief days in Paris for the marathon. I chose to travel with Marathon Tours, a touring company that has been offering tours for runners since 1979. Everything about this tour was well organized. I highly recommend this tour company if you are planning an international running vacation.
It was a whirlwind 5 days and I have the photos to prove it. All photos from the marathon were taken with the iPhone 5s. As I unpack the recap there will be lots of photos accompanying my text. In total I shot over 800 photos during this short trip. Photos taken around Paris and the countryside where captured with Canon 7D Mark 2 with 24mm f/2.8 or 28-135 IS lens.
My nerves started kicking in when I viewed this sign. After months of training, complaining and planning, I was minutes from picking up my marathon running bib. It was a very heady moment. Or maybe it was the cold medicine. More on that issue later.
Schneider Electric is the title sponsor of the Marathon de Paris, if you were wondering. Salon du Running at Porte de Versailles. The expo had a completely different flavor with dancers and sports lingerie kiosk. It was easy to get to the expo using the Paris Metro. Like Berlin, I used the metro often during my stay in Paris. Philadelphia can learn much from the Paris when it comes to public transportation.
It was a classy touch to have runners and friends walk the green carpet to enter the expo. The process to get my bib was uncomplicated as there were no lines. I presented my confirmation, photo ID and medical certificate and was handed my bib and bag of goodies.
Electric cars as pace setters! I like the Nissan Leaf, it will be my next car unless I win the lottery and buy a Tesla.
Contents of the marathon swag bag. Mine was short a sponge and a sample of Tiger Balm. I feel slightly cheated.
Let’s Dance! While Berlin is my all time favorite Expo, Paris is a strong second.
Brooks Running had a collection of fun signs. I saw a few of them on the course and they always make me laugh. Perhaps it is endorphins affecting my humor perception.
Oh, this run was on, mes amis!
Pre race pasta dinner at Casa Luca. Lots of pasta and wine, well, more pasta than wine. I was saving my wine quota for the (in)famous wine and cheese stop during the marathon. Yes, seriously, this is Paris.
Of course, I did break out the Louboutin’s for the pre race dinner. This is Paris and graceful I’m not in these heels.
2015 Marathon de Paris.
The hotel was only few blocks from the start and finish of this marathon. It was pleasant have a good breakfast before heading out to the starting corrals. The corrals were fenced in and volunteers at the entrances were checking bibs to make sure runners accessed the correct corral. No corral jumping allowed!
140 nationalities and 50,000 runners gathered on the Champs Elysees on the morning of April 12th to take part in this marathon. Myself, along with my roomate for this trip arrived an hour early , stretched and settled into our corral. The air crackled with nervous tension as runners filled the corrals, sharing nervous words with neighboring runners and stretching every so often. It’s in this moment when adrenaline starts ramping up and last minute running plans are mentally reviewed, rejected, then reviewed again. It doesn’t matter if the race is one mile or twenty six miles, this nervous tension always hits me at this time. It’s normal nerves on race day. Except I was battling a head cold and allergies from hell that left me congested and with little hearing. Training over winter was less than exemplary. It wasn’t a matter of IF I would hit the wall but when would I hit the wall.
But I was at the starting line of the 2015 Marathon de Paris and there was no backing out now.
As I have read in other recaps of this marathon, there is a distinct lack of port-a-potties at this event. Not just at the start but throughout the entire course. Temperature that day was peaking at 70 degrees and I found myself hydrating more than usual prior to the start of the run. Luckily, this was not my day for a port-a-potty pitstop.
As I sat on the ground waiting for our corral to move forward, I found myself surrounded by a colorful collection of running shoes and compression socks. Of course I took a photograph. It’s what I do.
Wow! Look at the crowd of runners filling up the Champs Elysees! Who runs Paris? We run Paris! Oddly enough, I noticed slower pace groups being moved towards the start line while faster pace groups waited patiently for our turn to cross the start line.
This is different. Corrals were separated by cages and the entrances were zealously guarded by volunteers. Don’t think of jumping into a faster pace group/corral.
So many people milling around the Arc de Triomphe prior to the start of the race, however, I don’t recall the roundabout being closed from traffic that morning.
In due time, I crossed the start line and began my 26.2 mile (42.2km) journey. Of course, I started sniffling as I approached the start line. I’ve cry at the beginning of every marathon, it seems it is a personal tradition. The weather was just right for a run and the scenery was distractingly gorgeous.
Look to your left and there is the Eiffel Tower! I apologize for gumminess on some of the photos. I believe it is a combination of Gu and sweat that caused this problem. I didn’t notice a problem till I reviewed the photos at the finisher area.
Running to drumbeats along the course.
I really like drummers and kept taking photos of them during the run.
Bosi de Vincennes castle and park around the 6-7 mile mark of the run. Mile markers along with KM markers were placed along the route, so I did not have to work out distances in my head. Also there were rolling hills around this part of the course.
A beautiful day to run along La Seine.
50,000 runners on this course and I met up with two local runners. This was near where I hit the wall – around mile 15 and out of the blue two runners ask me if I’m from Philly – in English! We spent the rest of the course running, laughing, chatting about running and snapping photos. This was exactly the distraction I needed to get me past the wall and on to the finish line.
More drummers. Because drummers.
The fabled wine and cheese ‘refreshment’ stop in Bois de Bologne. Only in Paris. We were so happy to pass this display as it reminded us how close we were to finishing this marathon.
Bois de Boulogne park. The finish line was about 200 meters outside this park. I finally started imagining crossing the finish line at this point!
Okay, just one more shot of the Eiffell Tower.
This is what running the final .2 miles of a marathon looks like.
Crossed the finish line and walking to claim our medals and finisher t-shirt. I like when organizers of a distance run decide to hand out t-shirt after you’ve completed the race. This was my slowest, yet most scenic marathon to date, now I have to run another to redeem my time. In spite of everything, I would not change a thing about this run.
After collecting my t-shirt and medal I wandered about the carnival-like refreshment area where runners were greeting friends and celebrating their achievement. I was simply super happy to know my hotel was a short two block walk from the finish line. Seriously, it is the little things in life that make me a happy camper.
I am a Paris Marathoner.
Runability rating: 4
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