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!