My last race was on September 22nd. My next race will not be until April 6th next year. I have signed up to run the Paris Marathon, targeting a fast marathon before building up my distance for a crack at a good run in a 100-mile race during the northern summer.
Therefore when I found some cheap flights from Africa to Paris I realised that it would give me a great opportunity to check out the marathon course. I decided that I would run the entire distance of the course over two days.
For my first day I travelled out to the Arc de Triomphe since the race starts very close by on the Champs Elysee. Compared to the narrow start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, it was amazing to consider the eight or so lanes of traffic that runners will fill for the start in Paris.
I took off on the slight downhill and made my way along the marathon course. The route took my through the stunning Place de la Concorde (with its Egyptian obelisk), along the Rue de Rivoli (alongside the Jardin des Tuileries and past the Louvre), before I stormed through (pardon the pun) the Place de la Bastille. After a loop around the Bois de Vincennes (the largest public park in Paris) I headed back to the Seine, running beside the water and to the Hotel de Ville. Alongside Île de la Cité and the 25 km mark I broke off the course, crossed a bridge over the river and meandered my way back to my accommodation in Montparnasse.
For my second day I travelled out to Chatelet – Les Halles (the largest underground station in the world) to recommence my run along the route. I continued to follow the Seine before breaking off to head towards the Bois de Boulogne (the second largest park in Paris). Leaving the park I headed towards Avenue Foch, passing the spot where the finish line will be located as I stared at the Arc de Triomphe ahead. Then I once again turned towards my accommodation, this time running directly under the Eiffel Tower along the way.
The course is definitely fast and flat, with only a couple of small rises that will obviously seem like mountains when attacked at full pace. Hopefully race day will give me good weather to challenge my target. But until then I have some training to do.