Running around the world

Le Semi de Paris | The Paris Half-Marathon

imag1184I have attended the Parish Half-Marathon in March 2016 and I consider it one of the most prestigious running events that I’ve been part of, so far. I’ve finished the race in a rather mediocre 1h 40’, but from my point of view, the most important thing was taking part in this wonderful event and I will be sharing all the details about the race below:

 

But first, the city

Paris doesn’t need any introduction and definitely not from me. I’ve only stayed in Paris for a total of four days, during the period in which the Paris Half-Marathon took place (its official name is Fitbit Semi de Paris or Le semi-marathon international de Paris).

However, in the days before the race and a bit after, I had the chance to wonder around the streets and visit the most popular landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, the Arc de Triomph, Notre Dame, walk on the banks of river Seine, etc.). And it was splendid. Plus the energy that this city transmits is incredible and contagious.

Like I do imag0864in any new city, in my first day there I went for a short run in order to get my muscles moving a bit and to get to know the city, or at least parts of it. I had to be careful so that I wouldn’t tire myself too much with the running and the visiting and make sure that I will be in top shape on race day.

But I won’t go in too much detail regarding the city. It is all so known to everyone and it is better if you go there and discover it on your own. I will just point out two more important aspects:

  1. The people there were great. They engaged in conversation and they were really nice to me, which might be against the popular opinion, that the French or the Parisians are a bit…arrogant. I did however spoke only in French while I was there, so this might have counted a lot in their eyes.
  2. The security. France was and still is in a declared state of emergency. This means that you see police and army patrols on the streets and when you try to enter a museum for example, you get a full security check, like you would in an airport. This made me feel both safe & unsafe in some way.

The race

Now let’s get to the race, because that’s why I’m here for.

The races in Paris will always be a big attraction for runners all across the globe. And even though not so many records are set there, compared to Berlin or Boston for example, there are still plenty elite runners taking part each year, ready to push through that 1 hour mark.
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A rainy run in Manchester

Running in the rain

At the beginning of 2016 I had the chance of spending a couple of weeks in Manchester on a work assignment and even though I couldn’t find any races in that period to sign up for, I still took my running equipment with me and took this opportunity to run around the city.

Running is one of my favorite ways of discovering a new city. I love getting out the door into the unknown and just picking a direction and then enjoying a good run while I get to know the new city, admire its architecture, learn the streets, do some sightseeing and interact with the locals. And Manchester was no different.

I am not a morning runner, especially during weekdays when I must be in the office rather early. But I’ve learned to adapt and to really enjoy running in the evenings and late at night. I haven’t changed my style while I was in England either, but what surprised me was that the people there aren’t evening or night runners. In the entire period that I’ve spent there, I only met a group of three runners during a cold and windy night. The rest, 90% of the runners, at least from what I saw, are morning runners. Every morning on my long commute to work I saw countless runners hitting the wet streets of Manchester, from as early as 6 AM and continuing until 8-9 in the morning.

I have always admired the people who run in the morning, but I admire the runners in Manchester even more, since the mornings there in February & March are so grim, cold and wet that it’s hard to imagine how would one motivate himself/herself to hit the road…simply impressive!
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