Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Paris Marathon 2014 6 April 2014

Well where to start with Paris?

Friday evening we headed to the running expo to collect our numbers. A straightforward process which was swiftly followed by the goody bag. A head torch which will come in useful, and a sponge. By the time we we'd done all these we caught up with the rest of our club mates and had a swift look round the expo - lots of goodies on show and lots of potential races on offer - very tempting! Time for a quick carb load at the Trattoria Victoria . Very welcoming and flexible restaurant - table for 16 please?, with good pasta/pizza.

Saturday morning we headed down for the breakfast run. A 5k with the added allure of a 'free' breakfast, what better way to start the day?

The start of this was on Avenue Foch which is the baggage drop/finish for the marathon on the Sunday, so this was a good opportunity to gain bearings.

The route finishes by crossing La Seine and running past the Eiffel Tower.

It was a very friendly run with lots of nationalities out for the morning. Not a lot of breakfast left at the end though - lot of runners wandering round with at least 4 baguettes, so a banana had to suffice.

On to the marathon on the Sunday. We took the metro to Charles de Gaulle - Etoile. Mini conversation with a couple of runners who liked my Massey Runners jacket - why's that? Well my dad likes tractors!

We returned to the Avenue Foch where we dropped off our bags and then headed back over the nearly empty Arc De Triomphe roundabout and onto the Champs-Élysées where all the runners were gathering for the start.

We started fairly close to the back of the pens. This gave a great view of the all the runners ahead of us spreading down the Champs-Élysées and after about an hour in the pens we finally got our turn to run.

The route's pretty spectacular, it passes a mass of iconic landmarks as you'd expect in Paris.

The Champs-Élysées leads you to the Place De La Concorde; on to pass the Tuilleries and the Louvre; 
views of Notre Dame; 
massive castle that is Château de Vincennes; on to a small boating lake in a wood; 
a grey mountain sticks out from the Zoo; the route turns back to view some of the same site 
D'orsay; sight of the Eiffel Tower; two underpasses; back through another wooded area and in to the Avenue Foch where it all began just a few hours before.

The route is great on this. The two underpasses are  little odd - they do get quite dark. My garmin lost its signal (which is an ache when you're pacing someone round). There was a light show and a dj in them I think.

Spectators were in abundance. This went from a throng of people in various parts who politely clapped through to the crowds of people enforcing a narrower route to shout and scream encouragement (I liken it to the cycle races where they're climbing up the hill and the crowds converge to give encouragement). Another little oddity was the crowd crossers - pedestrians crossing in front of the runners to get from one side of the road to the other. Usually this happens at specified crossing but here it was treated more like a sport. But hey, when in Rome (well Paris).

Water stations. So, remember the sponge in the goody bag? No? Well I did. Until I was persuaded that there was no way we'd be expected to carry our own sponges around the course. Note to self here - yes they do!

Other than that, these were well stocked with water, sugar, raisins, oranges bananas and more that i'm sure i've forgotten. Heading towards the last tables is a good idea as they were always stocked. Look out for the orange peels on the floor though. They are a little slippy underfoot and make your trainers a little sticky for good measure.

T-shirt, medal, banana, water and sports drink at the finish rounded off a great weekend's work! - well a hard winter's training which saw an awesome time for the first time marathoner I was running with.

All the goodies from the weekend:

Merci Paris!

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