Paris Marathon Race Report – Philippe D

Race: Paris Marathon

Runner: Philippe d

Race Date: 04/14/2019

Location: Paris, France

Results: 3:40:32

Strava Activity Link:

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

– Getting to the start line was easy and didn’t require to wake up in the middle of the night. My hotel was close to the start line so I left 40 min before the start of my wave and still had plenty of time
– Mostly flat with a few hills at the end of tunnels and in the park
– At the end of the race, there were long tables available with a large variety of fresh fruit and healthy snacks

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

– My first time experiencing aggressive runners (a fair amount of them), pushing people to get to the aid stations
– Aid station every 3 miles or so – the first aid station wasn’t until mile 6 making it a quite hectic first stop considering the amount of people who needed water
– Several sections along the Seine where there was no barriers/tape to keep spectators away from the path which required runners to be in a single lane to go through, slowing everyone down

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

The security was quite low, and I saw multiple spectators join runners for a few miles and then leave the course. I didn’t know it was allowed!

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

– The course is a great way to visit Paris, passing along most of the key landmarks (Arc de Triumph, Concorde, Paris Opera, Hotel de Ville, Bastille, Notre Dame, Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower)
– I knew it would be a stretch but I decided to follow the 3:30 pacer and was able to maintain pace until mile 22.

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

– Find hotel close to start line to make your morning as easy as possible
– Bring your own fluid if you need more than every 3-4 miles

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

– Cobblestones through out the course are tricky and make people lose their balance and fall on each other
– It’s mostly flat until the banks of the Seine with a big hill at the entrance of the park

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

YES! Combination of city landmarks and parks make the course really pretty

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not really despite the few hills

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

It was well organized despite the 10-min delay for my wave. Entering the coral was easy and leaving the race was simple and quick.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It felt like a good competition to me. My 3:30 wave was definitely on pace and I didn’t feel like I was passing a lot of people

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.

It was pretty straightforward to register and plenty of hotels were available at reasonable prices

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

Every 3 miles or so which was hard, especially with the first one not available until mile 6

Weather and typical race conditions

It was cold! We started around 34 degrees and finished around 42. No rain or wind though. Spring can be a hit or miss in Paris, and a 60 degree sunny day would have been pretty typical as well.

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

I had to buy gloves and a hat the day before because of the cold but nothing special besides that.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes – super friendly spectators… but also undisciplined who cross the course everywhere and run along runners 🙂

How’s the Swag?

Swag was pretty good. The bag from the expo is a slim runner’s backpack. Medal is good size and finisher t-shirt is only given after crossing the finishing line.

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

4 out 5

paris marathon info

Paris Marathon Race Info

Date: 4/14/19

Location: Paris, France

Start Time: 8:09am (1st Corral)

Avg Temps (f): 58/42

Time Limit: 5 hours, 40 minutes

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • With such a big race, ~55,000, expect long lines nearly everywhere and leave extra time for things like the expo, getting to the start, and using the bathroom beforehand, and throughout the race
  • Some tunnels throughout the course, which some runners liked for a break from the sun and others disliked, saying there wasn’t enough fresh air
  • Cobblestone streets at times, so this is a bit harder to run on in terms of footing and the feeling of running on a really hard surface
  • Chance of temps to be hot, especially compared to winter training – take that into account for your gear choices and hydration along the way
  • No gels at the aid stations, so bring your own if that’s what you train with
  • Different start corrals based on estimated finish time, so you could be starting quite a bit later than the first corral, based on your estimated finish, which means even warmer temps if it’s a warm day
  • Aid is likely only on one side of the course, so be ready for it and watch for other runners cutting from one side to the other.
  • With aid only every 5k, you’ll likely need each aid station, especially if it’s warm, so don’t miss it!
  • The ground around aid stations will become slick with the mixture of water and fruit peels on cobblestone roads
  • There are two big parks that you run through, before the halfway point and before the end – expect these to be a little quieter in terms of spectators
  • Best to go to the race expo on Thursday if you can, to avoid the crowds
  • With the race being so crowded, don’t be surprised at some physical contact with other runners along the way, as some sections are also narrow and squeezed in by spectators


Type: Loop course with no repeating of sections

Start/Finish Info: Different locations

Hills: Not an entirely flat course, with ~500 feet of gain. Several sharp and/or gradual hills of about 75-100 feet in gain

Course Map/Elevation Profile


Aid stations

Locations of water and electrolyte stations: About every 5km there will be a mix of water, dried fruit, fresh fruit and electrolyte drink

Electrolyte offered: Stimium

Spectator access

Access Locations: See Course Map. If you stay near the start, you can see runners again around mile 17 without much movement. Miles 1-17 are more of an “out and back” type of loop where you could see them twice within walking distance. Using the metro to get around is likely the best idea because of road closures.

Boston qualifier?


Race reports

Philippe D’s 2019 Race Report

Strava links

Race Website