Paris Marathon 2013 – but not for me

Click image to visit the Paris Marathon's website in English

Click image to visit the Paris Marathon’s website in English.

The clock ticked past 5 p.m. yesterday, and so ended registration for the 2013 Paris Marathon. Online entry for the race  is now closed, although places are still available via travel agency packages.

Around 40,000 runners will line up on the Champs-Elysées on 7 April – but even though it’s my local marathon I won’t be one of them. I’m sitting out this year’s race.

My main reason for not entering Paris this year is simply to give my body a rest. After running three marathons in 12 months (Dublin 2011, Paris 2012 and Dublin 2012) I need to take some time for recovery and re-energising.

That said, it wasn’t entirely a matter of me being rational and sensible at last. I was tempted to enter; the thought crossed my mind more than once. But each time my body seemed to shudder and say “Hold on there, big shot! Back up the truck!” So in the end I could say I decided not to run this year’s Paris Marathon, but it’s probably more correct to say that I simply wasn’t feeling it.

I’ve run the Paris Marathon three times, and it’s given me three memorable experiences. My first trip around, in 2007, was when I clocked what’s still my personal best, 3:27:58. It was also a scorchingly hot day, the kind I’d normally shirk if I were merely walking.

I missed the 2009 race because of a calf muscle injury but lined up again in 2010. Unfortunately, I hadn’t bothered to train properly, and I was punished for my cavalier attitude and preparation – I dragged my carcass around in an underachieving 4 hours and 11 minutes, the slowest of my marathons to date.

Happily I made up for it in 2012, when I ran 12 minutes faster than in the Dublin Marathon six months earlier to record my second-fastest time so far, 3:32:10.

So if I’m not training for the Paris Marathon, what am I doing instead? Well, I’m running for pleasure, burning off my Christmas excesses – and all with a mind to doing a marathon in autumn, probably Dublin again. But if I find some small, short races this springtime in my area then I might give one a go.

If you’ve entered the Paris Marathon this year, good luck with your training. If it’ll be your first time running in Paris, or even your very first marathon, then you’re in for a real treat – even if the crowds aren’t as large and fervent as London or Dublin, the course is relatively flat and definitely spectacular.

To get you in the mood, here’s a short film from last year’s race. Keep an eye out for me: I’m in there somewhere!

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8 Responses to Paris Marathon 2013 – but not for me

  1. Red Hen says:

    Merci for the fantastic video! Must be wonderful to run through. Heard John Tracey on radio this week saying every marathon took a piece out of him.

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks for posting the video. It was inspirational

  3. Amazing video. Can’t wait for this one. It will be my third marathon altogether. Fastest has been a disappointing 4:54. Looking for a better this time around!

    • Run and Jump says:

      Good luck with your training! If it’s your first time doing Paris, you’ve a good chance of knocking a nice chunk off that 4:54 – it’s a flat course along wide streets. But don’t take the wine they offer at mile 22!

  4. Irish-Mike says:

    I’ve ran Dublin 2011, Chicago 2012 and Paris 2013. Let me start by saying Dublin was close to Chicago in terms of atmosphere and organisation. Paris was a shambles IMO.
    At approx. 8k, there was a chicane, where only 4 abreast could get through. This from almost 30 abreast in the few meters before it.
    At 10k, a mid 50yo woman and her dog decided she was crossing the road, regardless! Later a guy pushing his broken down motorbike across the road, countless women with buggies shouting at runners to get off the road.
    My biggest complaint though has to be the water stations. Only on one side of the road. It caused a nightmare. People crossing, pushing, punches being thrown. To add the chaos, there were bins on the other side of the road, with targets on the back, so you had to watch out for flying bottles. I saw a few runners getting hit, but not me, so that cheered me up.
    Marshalling was almost non-existent. At the start, I couldn’t enter the start-pens as Joe-public were blocking the entrance. When I eventually got in, I found more Joe-public in the area, some taking photos, others picking up disguarded clothes and filling their carry-all’s.
    At the 12k mark around Vincennes, the public narrowed the road, Tour De France style. This would have been fine later on, but I was in with the 4hr group and lost out on the group as the road became too narrow. I don’t recall too many French calling out, The English, Scots, Aussies & NZ’s were very, very vocal, all due credit.
    At the 22k mark, I saw a guy getting hit with a highlighter from a window above, guys hanging out the windows, throwing items, nothing that the organisers could do about scum like that.
    Cobble-stones are tough on the road, but mix this with banana / orange peel, water & sugar and it might as well been ice-skating. I slipped, I saw several others slip. Dangerous. One girl slipped, fell and cut her head. Paris is a big/beautiful city. Other roads could be used to avoid so much cobble-stone. Running in the tunnel was different and even unnecessary, but the air driven by fans, with the smell of urine and vomit (from a guy in front) was disgusting. The off-ramp was also cobble-stones; I walked down this, not wanting to risk it.
    Toilets or lack of them! As a result, I witnessed a woman defecating on clothes, disgusting I know but I can understand why. Some portaloos around the route, but some were hidden behind the feeding stations! Strange decision
    All that aside, the atmosphere for the last 10k, up to the finish was enjoyable. The scenery though if terrific, and the finish with the view of the Arc was fantastic.
    Glad I have it done and finished it.
    Won’t be back and unfortunately, will not recommend it. It’s a BIG marathon with over 40k starters that to me, deserve better.

    • Run and Jump says:

      In my Paris Marathon experiences I’ve seen a lot of what you mention. That bottleneck was in last year’s race too, and people could walk freely into the finish area too.

      The people of Paris don’t support the marathon and barely tolerate it – the people crossing the street aggressively are a common feature that I haven’t seen to the same extent in Dublin. I wonder if the organisers could communicate better to residents – one colleague of mine who lives along the route only heard of the marathon because of me talking about it: no poster or notice or leaflet to mention disruptions or street closure times.

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