What a whirlwind of a weekend! It really is amazing how much can be crammed into just 3 short days, and as ever Paris has left me with memories to treasure for a lifetime. My favourite city never disappoints!
Our flight was at lunchtime on Friday and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to have some food. We also managed to catch up with some friends from Perth who were travelling to Paris too. They had entered the marathon but had to pull out due to injury, so were set to enjoy a weekend of sightseeing instead. I’ll admit that with no idea how my quad was going to hold up, I was briefly tempted to join them! I was excited to be going to Paris, but still rather numb about the marathon itself and the possibility of my leg feeling worse afterwards.
But despite my apprehension, as soon as we touched down I was keen to get to the expo (or Salon du Running as it was called this year) and pick up our packs. After so many trips to Paris, the airport itself is now very familiar and having travelled from there to the expo last year, the remainder of the journey on the RER and metro went like clockwork (once we conquered the temperamental ticket machines which just weren’t working for anyone!).
Like last year, our arrival at the Parc des Expositions was heralded by enormous signage as soon as we stepped out of the metro:
We then walked past a row of cars with timing clocks on them:
And finally turned a corner to be greeted by the entrance gantry. One side for runners, another for everyone else.
There followed the usual tense moment of submitting my medical form for inspection (they won’t hand over the race packs without one) before finally getting my race pack in my hands. The moment when it all suddenly gets very real!
Steve had collected his number at a different table, and when I found him again he was scouring the board featuring the names of all 54,000 entrants to try and find ours. It was tricky as it was a little crowded and the names were pretty small, but we got there in the end!
With only a short amount of time and a few other things to do, it was time to move on. We headed towards the main area of the expo to be greeted with a display featuring the medal and finishers’ top:
And at that moment, my fate was sealed. I HAD to have that medal, and if I had to crawl for miles dragging an injured leg behind me, I was going home with one! This marathon was happening!
The rest of our time at the expo was spent as you might expect: we collected our goody bags (the same green drawstring gym sacks as last year), picked up our T-shirts and flags for the Breakfast Run (a bargain at 7 euros per person) and took a couple of photos:
I also bought a couple of souvenir tech tops. I couldn’t decide between a long-sleeved one and a short-sleeved one, so ended up getting both!
By this time we were pretty hungry so decided to head for the hotel, get checked in then go for some food. We had booked into the same hotel as last year so finding it was easy enough and there were plenty of places nearby to eat. Since it was getting late, we stuck to some simple pasta, before nipping to the shop for some bottles of water. Back in our room, I took the chance to get all my kit organised and inspect the contents of the goody bag:
A selection of leaflets (as always!), race booklet, sponge for the refreshment stops, some pistachios, sample of Tiger Balm, blister plasters, metro map, luggage tag, pre-race poncho, water bottle and a waist pack. Not too bad a haul!
Content that everything was in order, it was time to go to bed as Saturday would be an early-ish start to take part in the Breakfast Run, a real highlight of last year’s trip. To find out all about the 2015 edition (and see some more photos) look out for my next post!