On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early. Every Saturday morning since the beginning of the year I have gotten out of bed and gone for an easy run of 3-4 miles as part of my marathon preparations. On this particular Saturday I was going to run a nice, gentle 5k…with several thousand other people all in Paris for the marathon! I was excited!
The first thing I did was look out of my Parisian window at the Parisian street outside. I love seeing the buildings of Paris and the iconic shutters on all the windows and my view on Saturday morning just made me smile:
I feel so comfortable in Paris and can slip so easily into the lifestyle, but today was going to be a little different (and I warn you now that this post features a LOT of photos!).
Despite the fact that we were participating in the Breakfast Run (and as such would have access to breakfast food after the race) we headed downstairs to sample the hotel breakfast which was, of course, typically French:
I tried not to overdo it since I actually did have to run, but I just can’t resist those croissants and pastries!
After breakfast it was time to get organised. As I mentioned in my previous post, participants in the Breakfast Run had to wear the tech T-shirt provided at registration in order to gain access to the course, however we were also encouraged to dress up to represent our country. This meant an outing for our kilts (Steve and Graeme had to travel in theirs the day before) and we had brought a couple of Scottish flags with us as well.
We walked up to the start on Avenue Foch (the finish line of the marathon on Sunday) which gave us an idea of the journey we would need to take the next day. This year the route of the Breakfast Run was the reverse of what it had been in previous years and I have to say, I think this was a good idea given that the finish placed us by the Eiffel Tower. It also meant that we got our first glimpse of the imposing Arc de Triomphe and we took a few photos before we started:
The race itself was the most amazing experience. Never before have I taken part in a race where the running was secondary to anything else! Everyone was in high spirits and keen to take pictures of others – including whilst running. We were in no hurry whatsoever and jogged round together, taking in the sights and enjoying the atmosphere as we ran along behind a vehicle blaring loud music and whipping everyone into a frenzy.
Here are some photos from the first part of the race:
Yup, that’s a “running selfie”! (Relfie?)
About half way round, everyone suddenly seemed to stop. We had reached the Trocadéro, probably the best viewing platform for the Eiffel Tower, and of course everybody (including us) needed to take a photo stop. The sun was behind the Tower, creating silhouettes in the shots, but it was still a stunning view and an incredible atmosphere.
After a few minutes, we realised that we should probably run the second half of the race, but from that point on there were a few more photo stops as I just LOVE the Eiffel Tower – I already have loads of photos of it from various different angles, times of day and weather conditions, but I just can’t get enough of it!
It was as I ran over this bridge (The Pont D’Iéna) towards the Tower that I began to feel rather emotional again. This is usually a really busy road, yet here I was RUNNING over it, with no traffic, and a stunning view ahead of me. When would I get an opportunity like that again?
I had briefly lost Steve as we were both too busy taking pictures, but we found each other again here and carried on with the last mile or so towards the École Militiare and the finish line:
Quite amusingly, nobody was in much of a hurry to cross the line – clearly everybody was having too much fun and wanted to prolong the experience by taking more photos right to the end. But when we did eventually cross the line there was water, bananas and coffee waiting for us. There had been croissants too, but they were all finished.
We found Graeme and Fiona then took a leisurely stroll through the Champ de Mars towards the Eiffel Tower, up to the Trocadéro, then back along Avenue Kléber towards the Arc de Triomphe, across the Champs Elysées and back to the hotel to get changed. Of course, there were plenty of photo ops along the way!
I LOVED this race. The atmosphere was amazing and everybody had such fun. People were asking complete strangers to be in photos and I saw a few people trying to collect as many different flags as they could. It may “only” have been 5k, but I would do it again without a second thought for the views alone – what an opportunity to see some of the famous Paris sights on a closed course and be able to take loads of photos. Brilliant!
The rest of the day was spent in a fairly leisurely fashion as we had to relax ahead of the marathon. We had a nice lunch sitting outside one of the cafés near our hotel then returned to the quayside by the Eiffel Tower to take a boat trip along the River Seine.
In the evening, Steve and I went to the Macmillan pasta party at an Italian restaurant by the Opéra. It was great to meet the Macmillan team after all the emails that have passed between us and to chat to some of the other runners. It was also an opportunity for some serious carb loading and I had a big plate of spaghetti bolognese followed by a tiramisu. Yum!
Returning to the hotel afterwards, there was an absolutely stunning sky over the Opéra which made for a beautiful end to the day:
Carbed up and hydrated, there was nothing left but to lay out our marathon kit for the next day then get into bed to try and sleep – always tricky the night before a marathon!
Next up…The Big One!