After much anticipation, the day of the Paris Marathon had finally arrived… I was about to run 42.19km.
For the days leading up to the event, I was so apprehensive and had began doubting all my training. My family had flew into Paris to support me, holding a large sign to promote the charity I was running for – Alzheimer’s Society.
A few days before, I had picked up my ‘dossard’ at Le Salon du Running and was surprised at the incredible organisation for the event. I barely had to queue. I had imagined it would be absolutely chaotic since there were around 50000 participants, making the Paris marathon one of the biggest and most popular marathons in the world. The atmosphere in Le Salon du Running was electric and made me feel like I was participating in something great – and I really was. There were hundreds of pop up stalls selling and advertising sports clothes and nutritional items so I bought myself 2 energy bars, one to eat before the race and the other as I reached the half way point.
The day before the big day, I made sure I ate plenty of carbohydrates such as pasta and bread as well as keeping hydrated. I also went on a very light morning jog just to loosen up and prepare my body for what I was about to put it through the following day.
So by the morning, I was rearing to go and waiting at the start line on the Champs Elyées at 9.30am with my family behind me cheering. The atmosphere was incredible and there was a real sense of camaraderie among the runners which was assuring since I was running on my own.
I was afraid of running the first 10km too fast and actually ran it a lot slower than the pace I was set out to do. I regret doubting my training, however, I managed to finish the race strongly and in fact, my last 10km were the fastest whilst my first 10km were the slowest!
As the people I had met on the start line had said, the course was perfect if you hadn’t seen Paris before since we’d be running past all the renowned tourist attractions, plus we’d also areas of Paris that are usually unseen by tourists. Here is the official map from the Schneider Marathon website of the course
The great thing about running marathon distances, is that you must run at a slow enough pace so you are still capable of talking – if you are out for breath it means you are running too fast and risk of burning out too much energy to finish the course. Out of 50000 participants, a man who told me he was 70 years of age, ran next to me for a while and it just so happens he was from Liverpool too. He was running his 20th marathon at a faster pace than me! You find so many inspiring people who are running the race with you who really motivate you.After I had reached 21km, I began to eat my energy bar, sugary sweets and apply the gel on my legs that I had stored in the bum bag the Schneider Marathon had given all participants at Le Salon du running.
Finally, I had reached the last km and I was overcome by emotion, bursting into tears on the last stretch. I do advice everyone to make an effort to smile at the cameras as my pictures are of me trying to hold back the tears. But it was a great and unforgetable moment that I will always cherish despite the ugly photos!