Paris skyline view from Montparnasse Tower

Looking at views like these it’s not hard to imagine why so many people choose to take part in the Paris Marathon every year.  I’ve done it four times now and the sights you see along the route still amaze me. Taking part in such a big event is both daunting and exciting (something all those runners preparing for London this weekend will no doubt be experiencing too) but running through the most beautiful city in the world is an unforgettable experience. Over 43,000 runners took part in the Paris Marathon 2016 and the average age of participants was 41, so I guess that makes me very average!

Over 43,000 runners took part in the Paris Marathon 2016 and the average age of participants was 41.

In addition to the thousands of people taking part in the marathon there were 250,000 spectators cheering and high fiving the runners along the 26.2 mile course which passes the most famous Parisian landmarks. Spotting your loved ones isn’t always easy with so many crowds – I missed my husband and daughter twice even though I ran past them within touching distance, but I finally got to see them just beyond the Eiffel Tower at the 18 mile mark.

 

Paris skyline Eiffel Tower nail art

In the days leading up to the marathon I hadn’t been feeling very well and was starting to think I might not be able to finish, or even start for that matter, but visiting the expo to collect my bib helped to get me in a better frame of mind, as did finding my name on the board amongst all the other runners. In total 57,000 people registered for the race (even though not all actually took part) so looking for your name is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Marathon name board

Paris marathon name board

Paris metro on way to marathon

The metro journey to the start line is always a nervous time but emerging from George V station on the escalator onto the Champs Elysees is a magical experience…the Arc de Triomphe and impressive Louis Vuitton store are right there in front of you…no time to shop though! Although the weather was perfect for sightseeing it wasn’t ideal for running. I don’t cope well with running in the heat, and typically there was a sharp spike in the temperature on race day, with the day before and after being cloudy and cool – the exact same thing happened last year. The temperature peaked at around 21c which is quite warm for April, but feels so much hotter when running. I poured as much water over me as I drank!

Paris Marathon 2016 start line Champs Elysees

Louis Vuitton Champs Elysees Paris marathon start line

Paris marathon Place de la Bastille

I had to stop for a moment to take a photo…it also gave me an excuse to have a few seconds rest!

Marathon finish Arc de Triomphe

By the end of it I was suffering from back ache and had massive blisters but the joy at crossing the finish line and putting the medal on made it all worth it…as well as seeing this cheeky little face of course!

 

Good luck to everyone running the London Marathon this weekend!

 

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Paris marathon Louis Vuitton Champs Elysees

It felt so good to be back in Paris, even if it did involve running 26.2 miles in 20 degree heat! The starting line has to be the most stylish on the planet…right by the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Élysées. Being a part of the marathon in the world’s most beautiful city is such an amazing experience, so much so that this was my third Paris Marathon.

The last time I took part in the Paris Marathon I picked up an injury six weeks before and ended up running it with sciatica and shin splints. That was no picnic.

Despite being familiar with the course I was still really nervous…you never know how your body will respond to the demands of a marathon, even seasoned runners can be struck down by an injury during the race and have to pull out. For back of the pack plodders like me the only goal is to finish, hopefully (unlike the previous two Paris Marathons) without a debilitating injury. The last time I took part in the Paris Marathon I picked up an injury six weeks before and ended up running it with sciatica and shin splints. That was no picnic. I couldn’t run for two months after that. This year I wasn’t as fit as in previous races but managing to get to the starting line with just a niggling bout of tendonitis in my right foot was a minor triumph. My main concern was the weather forecast.

Ironically the previous day was perfect for me – cloudy, cool with a light breeze – but the weather gods were not on my side for race day.

On any other occasion I’d have been delighted at the hot and sunny weather but I really don’t like running in temperatures over 15C so I knew I was in for a tough run. Ironically the previous day was perfect for me – cloudy, cool with a light breeze – but the weather gods were not on my side for race day. Consequently my feet swelled up quite badly so that despite loads of Vaseline and the fact that I wear men’s size 9 trainers I still ended up with horrendous blisters and battered toenails. Not at all glamorous!

Lamarck Caulaincourt steps Montmartre Paris

Setting off for the starting line…those steps were a good warm up!

Paris Marathon name board

My name among the 54,000 listed at the expo…it’s in there somewhere!

Paris marathon finish

Reaching the finish line was sheer relief, and of course being greeted by this little one was just the best feeling…even if she did guzzle all of my energy drink!

Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting about what I got up to after the marathon…believe it or not I still had some energy left for a bit of  sightseeing!

 

You can read all about my beauty running essentials in my previous post.

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

 

 

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