Sunday 5th April 2009
If anyone is looking for a marathon with a decent chance of a PB (flat; plenty of other runners for pacing but hardly ever too congested to run - except for a 2 minute standstill at a bottleneck at the first drinks & food station at Place de la Bastille 5k in; beautiful views to lift the spirits), or a marathon to enjoy without the pressure of going for a time, or one within easy reach on the Eurostar, or one far easier to get in than London, or one where your family or friends would thoroughly enjoy coming over to watch, I couldn't recommend Paris highly enough!
My race was really just a long run once the weather turned hot. I had ended up on an IV drip after FLM 2007 and didn't fancy that again, especially in my first overseas marathon. So once the weather was set for a warm and then increasingly hot day, I dedided not to push too hard and simply enjoy the run, the great atmosphere and the tremendous views.
I got to halfway in 1:59 and could have pushed on if the weather wasn't hotting up. But I had my sensible head on, so I ran within myself to avoid overheating. The times listed on the Paris website are gun times. They should get adjusted soon to show my chip time was 4:17:01. I was so relaxed about the run that I didn't even feel the need to push late on to beat 4:15, or even over the last few yards to duck under 4:17. It was just a great day out.
As it happens, that is 19 minutes slower than my PB, but is I suppose an overseas marathon PB and more to the point a hot marathon PB (after FLM 05 in costume and FLM 07, 11 mins slower and in a much worse way at the end). It was also my 4th marathon in 12 months, so I'm pretty pleased all round.
So I would definitely recommend Paris to anyone, whether as a fast one or an enjoyable relaxed run. All the best to anyone else with London or other marathons coming up. Respect the distance, and enjoy the day, whatever it brings.