Paris Marathon; what it’s like to run the Paris Marathon

Paris Marathon Race Review – Marie Howarth, Running Product Manager

I have run many standard marathons over the years including London, New York, Berlin and Prague, but Paris Marathon remains one of my favourites.

So what is it about Paris and the marathon that makes it so special for me?

I ran the Paris Marathon in both 2007 and 2008. Which although that’s some years ago not a lot has changed. Back in 2007 the marathon reported approximately 26,000 finishers and in 2008 approximately 28,000 finishers but that has since grown tremendously as this popular race can now reach up to 60,000 entrants.

A third of the entrants are international runners and a third are first time marathoners. The route is the same, the atmosphere is the same and the city and race are still fantastic. You have 5hrs 40mins (from the last wave start to finish the race.

The race registration takes place at the Porte de Versailles Expo, during the 3 days leading up to marathon day. Although its located on the outskirts of Paris (15th Arrondissement) it is accessible by public transport. If you book your Paris Marathon trip with Marathon Tours & Travel you don’t need to go to the Expo as the team collect your race pack for you. The Expo also has many companies promoting the latest shoes, running gear, gadgets, so if you want to do some shopping feel free to visit but be mindful of time on your feet!

The Saturday morning there is a 5km ‘breakfast run’ which is lovely way to stretch your legs and meet other runners from around the World. The details are to be confirmed for 2022 but it is expected to start close to the Louvre (1st Arrondissement), along the River Seine to Eiffel Tower and finish at Champs de Mar (7th Arrondissement).

A t-shirt is provided and after the run they provide refreshments to take away like a coffee, pain au chocolat and croissant. The cost is nominal (approx. €12) and in my opinion worth the money. You are in Paris for an experience and you will be sad to miss this….if however you want to rest your legs for the marathon then do take a stroll or gentle jog around the River Seine, sit at a Café and watch the World go by. Paris is extra special in the Spring.

The marathon.

The Schneider Electric Paris Marathon starts in waves on the Champs Elysees in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

The route is interesting and designed to run past or in view of all the major tourist sights. Refreshment tables every 5kms make it easy to mentally break the race into 8 x 5km sections and 2km cool down, shuffle or sprint to the finish….whichever it might be for you.

0km to 5km: The marathon starts in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde, down Rue de Rivoli past the Louvre museum. You are welcomed with great crowd support and local bands and drums.

5km to 10km: This section takes you past Hotel de Ville, Place de la Bastille and through a more residential area on the eastern edge of the city.

10km to 15km: You enter Bois de Vincennes park and see the Chateau de Vincennes, a nice highlight along the way. Crowd support here is relaxed and at times the greenery and peace of the park are serene and simply magical. Its not unusual to see Parisians casually walking their dogs in the park as you run by.

20km to 25km: Back into the city, where crowd support and music picks up after it had trickled off a bit in the park.

25km to 30km: Numerous tunnels to run through which are an adrenaline rush, dark and echoing with runners noise to come out into the bright light and cheering crowd the other side. Along the seine and past Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.

30km to 35km: More tunnels as you continue along the seine and past the Eiffel Tower.

35km to 40km: Another large park, the Bois de Boulogne which seems to go on forever but the crowd is great and you know you’re getting close to the finish.

40km to 42.195km: The end is very close as you exit the park and run down the wide boulevards to finish in Avenue Foch. This last stretch you literally feel like you are on the red carpet and all eyes are watching you finish. Soak up the calls from supporters of “Salut” as you gaze at your well deserved Paris Marathon medal.

To sum it up Paris itself as a destination is beautiful. It has a charm and charisma that I absolutely love. The Paris Marathon certainly ranks as a top marathon in my opinion.

If you want to run the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, we are very pleased to offer guaranteed entry, accommodation and guide support during your trip. Find out more and secure your place at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon start line here >