Select Page

It turned out to be a glorious experience, the weather was favourable for the time of year and despite being on my own (my usual supporters- hubby and kids- chose to sit this one out at home!), it was probably one of the most exhilarating marathons I’ve ever run.

I ran the Schneider Electric Paris marathon, as my first destination race and 13th marathon on Sunday the 2nd of April 2023.  Having completed 12 marathons within a wide radius of my UK home, and with the kids being a bit older, the time felt right to take the adventure international!  What better race than one relatively close to home and in a fabulous location like Paris? 

Race Registration:

I registered at the end of October; the race does sell out, therefore, early registration is advisable.  An international individual place (early bird) cost 120 euros in October 2022.  You get an app with a training plan and several challenges- 5k, 10k, half, hills etc.- in the lead up to race day.

You will need a medical certificate to run.  This is essential as you won’t be allowed to run without it.  I simply made an appointment with my doctor and had him sign it (as it is a private requirement, it attracted a 30 GBP private fee).  The certificate must be dated within a year of the date of the race and signed by your doctor.

Bib collection & Expo:

It seemed that there was an option to have your bib home delivered if you uploaded your medical certificate before a given deadline of the 29th of January.  This had not been clear and I did not see a box you were meant to tick to activate this option.  It seemed I was not the only one. When I arrived for bib collection and the expo at Porte de Versailles on the outskirts of the 15th arrondissement early afternoon on Saturday, the day before the race, I was confronted by a 2-kilometre-long queue.  Thankfully, the weather was dry despite the forecast for rain.  Waiting outside for an hour in wet conditions would have been a real misery-fest!!  To be fair, the queue did move, but I wish I’d been prepared with a snack.  Arriving in Paris (having got up at 4am to catch my train), making my way to the hotel to drop off my bag then heading straight to bib retrieval made for a long, tiring day, exacerbated by waiting in a long queue with the prospect of lunch some distance away.  Moral of the story?  Take a snack to the bib collection/ expo!

The expo itself had quite a lot of vendors, the usual stuff: shirts, trainers, running glasses, races etc.  I was much too tired to take a lot of it in and just wanted to get something to eat, get back to my hotel and get off my feet.

So pleased to get my bib, you can barely see my eyes!

Race day:

Bag drop was at Avenue Foch, close to the start line near the Arc de Triomphe.  It opened from 7 am, allowing plenty of time for drop off.  The weather was relatively mild at 8 degrees Celsius (although for me it felt cold and I was keen to get going).  The corrals were well organised for a race with over 50,000 runners.  Important tip: don’t be late as the corrals do close!

The course:

Pretty flat.  I’d heard scary stories about cobblestones.  Yes, they are present at the start, some mid-section and towards the end.  Truth be told, they are not horrendous and are flat, merging into the ground.  I did not find them problematic at all.  There is an oppressive half a mile tunnel at mile 17.  You should be prepared for this since you will be quite spent, then have to power through the tunnel which emerges at a gradient on the other side.  To their credit, the organisers had stationed a steel band at the tunnel’s entrance; the sound reverberated through and provided much needed energy.  Similarly at mile 18 a quarter mile tunnel with another incline exit is present.  Here, the organisers placed music inside the tunnel which pounded through and enlivened my spirit.  Hearing The Weekend and Daft Punk’s ‘I feel it coming’, which was so apt as you anticipated that next tunnel, nearly turned me into an emotional wreck.

There were aid stations at every 5 kilometres, providing water and fuel.  I carried a hydration belt and was grateful to have fuel and hydration ‘on tap’.

Spectator support was sensational, almost all along the course there were shouts of allez, allez!! from the crowds.  I ran without music as I wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and not miss a sight or sound.  For that same reason, I chose to run in a manner that allowed me to enjoy the city while still challenging myself.  I achieved both goals.

The 2023 marathon route
Pretty flat profile with little elevation


Finished at the bottom of Avenue Foch.  It felt like quite a long walk for medal and finisher shirt collection (probably just a warped perception having just run 26.2 miles!).

Think I earned this…
…and that

My overall experience:

I travelled from London by Eurostar out of King’s Cross Saint Pancras station to Paris Gare du Nord.  Upon arrival in Paris, I purchased a pack of 10 Carnet travel cards (19 euros for 10).  This was more than sufficient to get me from the train station to my hotel for bag drop off, after which I made my way to the bib collection / expo centre.  I was able to enjoy some sightseeing the day before race day, get myself to the race and back to my hotel.  I headed back home on Monday morning.

Getting around Paris is easy.  I used the Metro the entire two days I was there (Saturday morning to Monday morning).

Easy enough to get around on the metro with Carnet cards

I stayed at the Legend Saint Germain Hotel on 6th arrondisement.  Reviews state that hotels in Paris are small, and this was no exception.  Fact is that space is at a premium in a popular city like Paris, therefore, hotel rooms are usually small. My stay at this clean hotel was comfortable; it was perfectly situated to access the race and all that accompanied it as well as to enjoy the sights. The staff even managed to sort me out with a Garmin charger when I discovered that I had inadvertently left home without it when I switched bags.

Want to run a beautiful, well organised and memorable marathon?  Look no further than the City of Lights!!