The Breakfast Run at the Paris Marathon is my all time favourite small race. The thing is though it’s not really a race, more of a fun run and while I normally hate fun runs due to my preference of racing, this is the exception to the rule. Let me tell you why.
The Breakfast Run is a 5k starting on Avenue Foch on the finish line of the marathon, winds its way through the streets passing the Trocadero, across Pont D’Iéna bridge before finishing at the Champ de Mars and virtually the foot of the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of photo opportunities along the route, particularly at the Trocadero, on the bridge in front of the tower and beyond the finish.
All runners are given identical t-shirts to wear when they register. The runners are also encouraged to wear the colours of their country as well as being supplied with a little flag from their respective country to wave as they go. This is an excellent idea, in my opinion, and a great opportunity to bring people from many nations together and make new friends. I always wear my kilt which, aside from having to be checked every time at the airport, creates a massive talking point during the run as I become instantly recognisable. I met and spoke to several people from the UK and Ireland during the run and joined in a photo with a Moroccan chap and a Japanese girl after the finish. I always feel proud to wear my kilt at this event for the number of people from different countries I connect with that I would be unlikely to do if I didn’t wear it.
The run isn’t timed and it’s impossible to win anyway as there are a bank of runners spread across the road at the front to ensure that no-one can go past them. The ethos is simply to bring people together and to have some fun while running. In fact, I would actually say that the running bit really comes secondary as there are people stopping at various points on the course to take selfies, to take photos of others or to be part of photos.
Allison and I spoke to many people on the way round, from Simon from Dundee about to run 4 marathons in 4 weeks for charity, a couple and their son from England who were doing this run together before the son was about to run the marathon and a couple from Ireland who were running together before the girl was about to run the marathon as part of a race a month throughout the year for charity.
When you get experiences like that, the run is simply something you do while meeting these people it defines what a fun run should be about and your mile splits are not even a consideration to anyone. I’m not sure how many international marathons have such runs the day before the main event but if you get the chance to do one, go for it. You might just rediscover why you love running.
What’s the most memorable event you’ve been part of and why?
Happy Running! 🙂