Tag Archives: Paris Marathon

The Schneider Electric Marathon De Paris 2019, Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mike Barlow

I suppose it’s about time I wrote a race report, I’ve been a member now for 2yrs and so far, managed to dodge that obligation, well I can dodge no more…

In my mind the Marathon is the pinnacle of running achievement, it is what I have aspired to since being a child and witnessing my Grandad knock out several as an Elswick Harrier. But as life unfolded, and my only running achievement since school was a 2:01 GNR in 2004, it appeared that particular ‘dream’ would elude me.

Fast forward 14ish years…

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Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris 2018, Paris, Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lesley Hamill

This was my second bash at the Paris Marathon, I first did it in 2016 when I hadn’t been running for very long, and although I had followed the training plan to the letter I found it really tough, especially in the heat. Jonathan had done it last year, so this year was my turn again. It didn’t take too much effort to persuade Karen to come with me, and before I knew it, a whole group of us from Striders/DMotR had signed up. When you’ve got kids, running a marathon seems a good enough excuse for a minibreak!

We arrived in Paris on the Friday evening and immediately noticed a significant increase in temperature from Durham. All our training this year had been in freezing temperatures, ice, snow, hail, rain, so we weren’t feeling particularly prepared for running in the heat! Saturday morning was the Breakfast Run, a fun 5k warm-up for the main event. On a beautiful sunny morning, we met near the Louvre, picked up our green tops and flags and off we went! The route takes you past the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, along the Seine, finishing on the Champ de Mars beneath the Eiffel Tower. At only 12 Euros (including technical tee and breakfast at the end) I would recommend it! On to the Expo where we picked up our numbers and free Paris Marathon rucksack. It’s worth mentioning that you need a medical certificate signed by a GP to be able to pick your number up, this is the case for all races in France. I managed to get mine signed for free this year, but lots of other people had to pay. After a few photos and a quick look round the stands, we went for lunch, drinking as much water as we could as it looked like it was going to be warm the following day.

On the day of the marathon, we were up early, grabbed some breakfast in the hotel and jumped on the metro to the start. It took us a while to work out where the bag drop was as it wasn’t signposted, it turned out to be a good walk away! We just had enough time for a quick loo stop before entering our pen with Jill and Simon.

Sun was quite hot now, and it was only 09:45, but the atmosphere was great and we were all in good spirits!

It is an amazing experience running down the Champs Elysées with thousands of other runners of lots of different nationalities.

We started off at our planned 10min/mile pace, jumping into the shade when we got the chance and taking on water at the refreshment stations, which were every 5k. As well as water, there was a good selection of food on offer, dried fruit, orange segments, cut up bananas and sugar cubes. The route is truly spectacular, and signs point out the main sights along the way. I love the fact the French firemen come out in force at certain points to support the runners, although I suspect this is more of an attraction for the female runners! There are quite a few hoses you can run through to cool down (amazing!) and at regular intervals there are tables with big bowls full of water which you can use to cool down too.

On we went towards the impressive Place de la Concorde, Rue du Rivoli and Place de la Bastille. Arriving in the Bois de Vincennes was a nice change of scenery, especially as the refreshment station was opposite the rather impressive Chateau de Vincennes. We heard someone call Karen’s name out, and it turned out to be a family she knew from Durham who were on holiday in Paris! After a quick chat, we were off again and enjoyed running through the park, even though there was less support here.

There are lots of fantastic bands on the route too, which really lifts your spirits when you are starting to feel tired. We now headed back into the heart of the city and reached the halfway point at the Rue de Charenton where we had a quick loo stop. The route now follows the course of the Seine, passing Île de la Cite, going under the Pont Neuf before going through a couple of tunnels.

At the 16-mile point, I started to struggle a bit in the heat, I remember doing the same two years ago. Karen was feeling strong so I told her to go on ahead while I dug in and battled the demons in my head which were telling me to walk for a bit. Luckily, I got through this and picked myself up again, somehow managing to catch up with Karen at the 20-mile point.

The tunnel was a bit of a strange experience; every year there is a different art installation to look at. Two years ago it was a tropical paradise complete with sounds and smells. This year it was ‘Welcome to Hell’!

The hardest part of the race for me was the last 10K, although I felt a lot stronger than I had done two years ago. Running around the Bois de Boulogne away from the city streets, every K seems to get longer and you wonder if you will ever see the finish! Lots and lots of people were walking now, I was trying to stick to the green line which was becoming more and more difficult. Then suddenly out of nowhere, I hear someone shout ‘Come on Strider!’, and it turns out to be Helen from Bishop Auckland who knows a couple of members of the Club. This gives me a boost to finish strong, especially now I can see the crowds again and can hear shouts of ‘Vous êtes tous les champions!’.

Onto Avenue Foch and the finish line is in sight – enfin! I even hear my name shouted out by the commentator! I crossed the line in 4.32, two minutes slower than I would have liked, but still a 24 minute PB! Karen was just ahead of me and I catch up with her once I have my (amazing) medal and finishers’ top. Job done! A few photos in front of the stunning backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe, then off to the nearest bar to refuel with Coke and chips where we waited for the others to finish.

All in all, I would highly recommend the Paris Marathon, although If you don’t like running in the heat it may not be for you! The route is absolutely stunning, and it is very well organised. I will definitely be back, just maybe not for a couple of years…

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Paris Marathon, Sunday, April 3, 2016

Matt Archer

And not a cyclist in sight. So we rocked up in Paris at 16:00 on Friday afternoon, the weather was cool and the sun was nowhere to be seen. We (Matt and Tee) checked in to the hotel and then headed to the expo to pick up my race number, Tee’s breakfast run t-shirt and most importantly my solar panel powered lamp that I had won courtesy of the Paris Marathon app (it is epic, I can now recharge lots of appliances via the power of the sun!). Back to the job in hand… pizza was consumed before getting a good night’s sleep ready for Tee to run in the morning.

Saturday arrived and we headed out to the start. I wrapped up warm as the sun was nowhere to be seen and the temperature was low. Tee stormed the run covering the 5km faster than the Paris Metro. I met her at the finish where she was already tucking in to her pain aux chocolate and banana. The rest of the day was spent chilling with my legs being used as little as possible, as I perused my Met office app for a look where I discovered that the outlook was good – little wind, cloudy until the middle of the day and highs of 18-19C to only be reached by 15:00.

Sunday dawned, the skies were grey and the temperature were low. The morning alarm sounded at 5.45, I rose, boiled the kettle and tucked in to two porridge pots. Kit was donned and then off to the metro to get to the Champs – Elysees, dressed in many layers, a woolly hat and a pair of gloves. In case you were wondering it was a little bit chilly!!

The race was officially underway at 8.45, the pros and the sub 3 hour pen disappeared. Being inParis in the Spring. the 3h15 pen we were walked to the start line and waited for 3mins for the traffic to clear. The atmosphere was crackling with anticipation and before we knew it the right hand side of the pen were set away, it was allowed to empty before we were released, my dreams of a traffic free course lay dashed.

Eventually we were off into the rising sun, the pace was good, the legs felt fresh and all seemed right with the world. Soon the sweat began to form on my brow and thoughts turned to the water stop at 5km, the big red signs appeared on the horizon and I got ready to grab a bottle and replenish some of the lost fluids, a sharp hair pin bend appeared and I spied water on the outside of the bend, obviously with it being such a big event there will be water on both sides of the course so I take the fast line and take the opportunity to pass runners. The bend was taken but no more water was available, the temperature was rising and panic started to creep in, no more water until 10km.

The distance disappeared nicely, water stops came and went, copious amounts were consumed and the sun burnt down on the runners. The halfway point was reached and we headed towards the River Seine. The first underpass approached with the promise of a surprise. Down we went and suddenly tropical sounds started to drift in our direction, these were followed by large posters depicting a tropical beach. Soon the road rose in front of us and as we started to climb the only solace was that we were out of the sun.

The kms started to drag, the legs became heavy and the stomach became upset…this was not in my ‘race plan’! The river passed, as did the Eiffel Tower although my memory of this feature is very limited. We were heading towards the park and the eventual end of the race. Fellow competitors were dropping like flies, respirators were out in force, comforting those laid out by the side of the road. The pace dropped as the wheels started to come off; the finish couldn’t come soon enough, but the the pull of the t-shirt at the end kept me going. Eventually a corner was turned and the end was in sight, I stumbled on, completely missing the cries of encouragement from the wife who had occupied a spot near the final straight. The finish line was crossed and respite from the sun was calling. The journey along the longest finishing area had begun.

Fin. After what felt like another mile the end was reached and Tee was met, her first job to guide me into some much needed shade to where it felt like I collapsed in a heap…assured by my wife that this in fact wasn’t the case. At the time I swore I would never do another marathon ever again and Paris would be my first and last marathon… but since returning to England it may not surprise you that Paris most certainly won’t be my last marathon; I’ve already found myself checking out race listings for distances of 26.2 miles, just a bit closer to home this time. Be assured however; Paris, you have not beaten me! I have some wrongs to write with that race and one day, I will do just that!!

There were some great performances from the other Striders on a very hot day with Mike Parker, Lesley Hamill and Caitlin Mooney all joining me in Paris being their first EVER marathon, well done! Greta and Karen Jones both ran really well and Kathryn Sygrove put in another solid marathon performance.

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