Part of the reason that I booked Hollie and I a romantic trip to the ‘city of love’ was that I had heard great things about the welcome one receives when attending a parkrun event in a foreign land. In Paris, I was not disappointed.
A troupe of 20-or-so runners from all over the world (ok, mostly Parisian but a few Brits and others thrown into the mix) got together, heard a multi-lingual run briefing and then set off. I forgot to prep my watch beforehand so had to press three buttons in order the start my clock but, in the end, my clock and the race clock matched perfectly so, no panics there.
There was a panic, however, 20minutes prior to the start of the run as H and I were halfway along our 2mile walk from Grenelle to Bois de Boulogne; we left early, 1 hour before the proposed start time, and starting walking – by now, you will probably know that H is 13 weeks pregnant and had been struggling with keeping her feet healthy all week at work where she is standing 90% of the time. H’s feet were hurting, and with 1mile to cover I was getting anxious that the event I had been dreaming about since we booked our tickets would start without me. We attempted to get some Parisian Boris Bikes, but my card wouldn’t work in their machine, we wanted to hail a taxi, but none passed us on our walk, I wanted to make the start so finally H caved, took my coat and tracksuit top from me and I set off to find the start. Turns out, we were under 4mins away from the meet point so, our little panic was unnecessary. I turned the corner, saw hi-viz jackets, and waved Hollie over to the start.
The runs starts downhill, turns right through some extremely beautiful (and flat) trail sections and then figure eights the initial downhill in reverse to make up the 5km. By the end, I was ready for a croissant and a sit down – the downhill that I had thoroughly enjoyed at the start had come back to get it’s revenge on loops 2 and 3, when I was required to run UP it instead of down. The hills had won this round – 17:33, 10 seconds off my PB. I vowed to return (and the hunt down the course record of 16:44), said thanks, shook some hands and Hollie and I walked off towards the nearest cafe. Her tummy was rumbling, my face was aching from the all the smiling.
Parkrun is awesome. Parkrun is Paris, cheered on by your beautiful wife, in perfect conditions? – parfait.
Here’s the pics – thanks to Nicolas Vaissiere for these (and for keeping up with me on the course – I think I saw him 8 times on a 2.5 lap course).