Paris Marathon Race Report – Doug Miller

Race: Paris Marathon

Runner: Doug Miller

Race Date: 04/02/2023

Location: Paris

Results: 3:59:26

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

What an epic way to see the historic sights of Paris! To have the streets shut down for you to go for a run and see all the monuments is amazing.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The streets narrow down often. With the volume of runners, these pinch points make holding a cadence and pace difficult. It’s especially true during the back half of the race when heading back into the center of the city.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The federal government protests and city garbage strike leading up to race day created some uncertainty before arrival, but the race organizers and city gov pulled it together for race day.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

The early part of the race, starting near the Arc De Triomphe, running along the Champs Elysees, past Place De La Concorde, Place Vendome, La Bastille, Louvre Museum…it’s like an architecture and history tour of Paris.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

I booked a great little independent hotel that was walking to distance to the start and even closer to the finish. It made race day logistics super simple.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The waves of runners seem to pinch back together at various spots heading west back into the city center along the riverfront boulevards from 24km, on and off to the finish. If you’re going for a specific time, and you’re not in one of the early waves, you have to take this into account.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There’s a stretch along the river with some tunnels and short hills, and large volumes of runners that takes some patience and energy.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Again, you just can’t beat having the streets of Paris shut down for you to take a run. Plus, I’d never been in the large Bois de Vincennes park on the east edge of Paris. It was quite nice to break up the city run with miles in the park.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not a hugely difficult course. Just account for the tunnels with small hills along the Seine.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

The race is well run. They should consider if there are some routing or wave spacing improvements that could avoid some of the runner volume choke points along the route. They could take a page from NY marathon in getting large groups into corrals at start, and the mobile app experience could improve, but only small tweaks ahead.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

My first marathon in 20+ years was NYC in November of last year. The logistics here felt like a comparative breeze. To walk from the hotel to the start, and again return with just a short walk from the finish made me question whether I’d ever do a point-to-point race like NY again.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Every 5k like clockwork

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather was cloudy and 50-degrees, with a few light sprinkles of rain. Great for this Seattle-based runner.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

I brought a goodwill fleece jacket with a hood for the start area. As you progress toward the start line, there are volunteers in the middle collecting such gear and it made it easy to stay warm right up to the start.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

My daughter came along as support. She learned the metro system and with some planning met me in several spots along the route. She said the metro was packed with spectators and families doing the same, so that’s worth keeping in mind. With a little more planning, and maybe some coaching from a local, we may have picked a few different locations. Overall, she had a great time chasing me around in Paris.

How’s the Swag?

Shirts handed out at finish rather than expo before. I wear my long sleeve from NY race for running all the time. This bright yellow short sleeve will probably end up in a drawer. Not as nice.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4.5 stars — with 5+ stars for the experience of running in the streets of Paris, especially the early miles