Over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of October, 2013 I had the privilege of running in the 20 Kilomètres de Paris.
The chance to run in this prestigious event was afforded me when my employer asked if anyone was interested in running this race; travel, accommodation and race entry provided. Like a fine wine, I don’t travel well (I didn’t even have a current passport) but this was to good an opportunity to miss so I put my name down for the race.
We departed, via EuroStar on Saturday morning and by the afternoon we were in Paris at the runners’ village collecting our race t-shirts and soaking up the atmosphere.
One traumatising taxi journey later we arrived at our accommodation, the Kyriad Hotel. If Paris had such a thing as a Highway Code it would be sponsored by Nike and contain three words; Just Do It!
Not everyone who drives in Paris is mad…but it probably helps if you are.
The evening was spent consuming a great carb-loading pasta meal at the Tardis-like Livio (it’s waaay bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside). The food was smashing and the company consisting of work colleagues, director, an owner and his family was fabulous.
Race start was 10am on Sunday and after an early breakfast I was at the foot of the Eiffel Tower where the race was due to start some 45 minutes before kick-off. The weather was cool but not cold and with some glorious sunshine—perfect running weather.
The race was amazing with plenty of fantastic support from the Parisian crowd. 23,878 runners took part and it was a true spectacle to behold so many runners setting off up the Av. Albert de Mun on the start of the 20km course.
The course ran along the length of the Allée de Longchamp before doubling back down along Av. de l’Hippodrome, Allée des Fortifications and Bd. Exelmans before the final run along the north bank of the Seine, crossing at Pont Royal and returning along the south bank to finish at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
My official time of 1h 40m 31s was beyond my expectations and due primarily with trying to keep pace with Glenn, a work colleague also in the race. It has also inspired me to set a challenging 3h 30m target for the 2014 London Marathon which I am running on April 13th, 2014. I was placed overall 7022/23878 and 1932/5248 in my age category. Splits were 5KM 00:25:08, 10KM 00:50:24, 15KM 01:15:20.
I’d run it again in a heartbeat.
I had a fantastic weekend and a totally different running experience from the lone, cold, dark, 5am morning training runs I’d been doing beforehand in preparation for the race. I’d run it again in a heartbeat.