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| Les 20 Km de Paris (The Paris 20 K) |
"Keep in mind that Parisians are not rude, they just hate you."
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Starting point: 10,000 runners gather under the Eiffel Tower.
| || You don't need to be the Forrest Gump of the long-distance-running to attend "Les 20 Km de Paris", scheduled for mid-October.|
Paris is a gem of stone in the heart of France and the event is a great way to enjoy a picturesque tour of the City. You are sure you are not alone, almost 10,000 runners come from all over France and other countries like England, Germany and the United States to run in The City of love.
The "One-loop-design-course" starts (at 1:00 PM) and ends at Pont d'Iéna near the Eiffel Tower. The relatively flat course allows us to see the Place du Trocadéro, the residential districts and the Bois de Boulogne - an oasis of calm in the chaos of the City - it's just awesome.
There is nothing quite like October in Paris. The blazing color of the automn trees is beautiful and it makes it difficult to concentrate on speed when all you want to do is to stop and take a picture.
| || || ||Don't worry about the uphill start, this race is a record-setting-course ! |
An orchestra attired in costumes.
| || While running, I talk to my fellow runner Indro [a skilled webmaster from www.RunThePlanet.com]. Like me, he decides to make this race a vacation-week.|
This race is a blast, full orchestras attired in costumes make beautiful music along the route. Passers-by give the thumbs up and people lining the streets whistle and cheer. You really don't need to bring your own fan club!
I take in the sights, the kids high-fiving us, the smiles of the crowds, the guys at the band... As for me, the most important is to not forget how much fun running can be.
| Francis Komu breaks the tape in 59:35 and Hellen Kimutai, the first woman, in 1:05 + a handful of seconds - Amazingly their prizes are kept secret -. |
No need to mention that they have the time to take a shower, have lunch and read their favourite magazine while the time I'm shuffling in.
Still, I hear the spectators cheering as I race to whithin a kilometer-quarter of the finish line. I get a buzz as I watch the digital clock flash off the closing seconds.
It's a fun, well-planned and well-managed event. A first class race with a great bunch of volunteers who seem really enjoy to help. Whatever your reason for coming, it's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I can't wait to do it again.
The winner, breaking the tape in 59:35. How does it feel to be a champion ?