Serpie Planner - event reports

Paris Marathon (06 Apr 2003)

On Sunday the 19th July 1896, 191 runners ran the first French Marathon over a distance of 40km that connected Paris from Conflans, where the race started and finished. The organisers of the race Petit Journal decided to award a commemorative medal to all finishers who finished in under a time of 4 hours.

The race distance was over a distance of 40 Kilometres which was the distance between Marathon and Athens. The current Marathon Distance of 42.195km did not come into effect until the 1908 London Olympic Marathon.

Over a century later in the region of 30,000 runners from around the world took to the streets of the French Capital for the 27th running of the Paris International Marathon. On a overcast Parisian morning the runners started at the Champs Elysees heading towards the Place de la Concorde before making their journey through the city finishing at Foch Avenue.

Out of the 30,000 several

Paris Marathon (05 Apr 2009)

Paris was looking its best for the 2009 marathon, and running conditions were ideal – a pleasant max of 18C, without being hot or too sunny.

Paris puts itself out for its marathon. Unlike all but the last bit of London’s marathon, the route is a fabulous tour of many of the grand boulevards, and 10k in the wooded Bois de Vincennes. Bands and dance troupes of every musical persuasion are laid on, though it has to be said the tone is much more serious than London and the support rather patchy until the closing stages.

At least 29 Serpies took part this year. Fortunes were as usual mixed, ranging downwards from Ian Sharman’s storming 2:38:02 which gained him 112th place overall, a whole 20 minutes off his previous time in Paris.

There were also great first-ever marathons from Abdulrashid Abdi (2:59:58) and Stephane Schneider (3:22:45) both of whom pronounced themselves very happy with their results.

Our traditional eve-of-run pasta restaurant, Bel Canto, had morphed into an upmarket Moroccan place and nine of us rapidly took refuge in a nearby Italian place called Ristorante D’Ugo in the nearby Rue Heliopolis.

Beata Vogt and Ron Hagel supported us and put on a very welcome impromptu picnic in the finish area and Keith Evans also came to give support at the Bastille. Our thanks to them all.

All Paris’s marathon traditions were on full display, including the bands, the chaotic bag-deposit arrangements and the purveyors of Beaujolais, Calvados etc in the final 2km. There were a couple of serious bottlenecks round the course (notably at Bastille) which we must hope the organisers will address for next year. I would urge all Serpies who took part to fill in the feedback form on the organisers’ web site.

George Allan