Coming to Paris feels very familiar and much less stressful for us now. This was our 5th visit, our 4th consecutive, and so we know what we’re doing, when and how to get to most places. We always make a point of going straight to the Salon du Running as soon as we land as it’s usually much quieter on the Friday compared to the Saturday so there’s more time and space to walk around, check everything out without feeling rushed or crowded. There’ll be enough of that on marathon day!
Fortunately, we bumped into my friend Fiona at the airport, who is from Perth and lives and works in Paris, had been over visiting family and was come back for the marathon. She was able to pass on a great tip for travelling to the Salon du Running as it’s usually a fair trek across the other side of the city. Following her advice, we took the B train to Cité Universitaire then switched to the tram to get us to Porte de Versailles. Saved a lot of time and hassle. Thank you Fiona!
Registration and Expo is always where the excitement starts to build ahead of a big city marathon and the Salon du Running is no different. You can’t help but feel your heart beat a little faster when you approach the venue and see all the event banners and colours stick out. There were bag searches on the way in but that’s standard practice these days and is not really an issue given events happening in London, Germany and previously in Paris. The first step is always to hand in the medical certificate, get it stamped then proceed to get your race number, walking past the display of the medal, finishers t-shirt and the prize for the winner if you are lucky enough to run the race of your life and beat the Kenyans! Once you’ve got your number, your race bag (a fantastic souvenir that gets better every year). This is where you’re likely to gulp with the sense that it’s all beginning to feel real now where after all the training, you’re about to run a marathon!
Thankfully, you now enter the Expo bit where, for runners, feels like you’re a kid in the biggest toy shop. First of all, there’s the race wall to pass where everyone’s name is on. The shopping bit can be very dangerous as you want to buy everything. If you can get through the souvenir section, or indeed the rest of the Expo, without maxing out your credit card then you can definitely run a marathon! I wasn’t that bothered about buying anything as I’ve probably worn the souvenir t-shirt I bought last year once and tend to wear the breakfast run or the marathon t-shirts more on training runs.
We stopped off at the Pasta Party as we hadn’t really eaten since the lunchtime pastry with our coffee at the airport. For €12 we got a tub of Penne Bolognese, some bread, a crêpe (we went for the Nutella option) and a beer. I think water may have been an option.
There are lots of photo opportunities which are always worth stopping for and there are great messages, not only motivational ones but also the value of recycling the empty water bottles and the food waste from discarded banana and orange skins at every water station.
Always a good visit!
Next Up: The Breakfast Run