KWAY VOB runner BRENT JANARI recalls he’s Paris Marathon experience …
My third marathon, the 40th annual Paris Marathon, is one of the largest in the world. A record number of finishers, 43,317 runners, ran this year’s race. Despite the crowded field, a staggered start means it is possible to maintain a good pace throughout the race.
The expo was massive. If you are a runner who enjoys buying new gadgets you would need to spend at least 4 to 6 hours at the expo. It was, by far, the best running expo in my experience.
The 5km breakfast run starts at the finish line of the marathon and ends at the Eiffel Tower. With the roads closed we could take photos at the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a buffet breakfast afterwards. It was a worthwhile experience.
On race morning, as I looked down the Champs Elysees toward the Place Du Concorde, it was time to focus. I realised I could not waste all that training and disappoint the people who had put faith in me.
The wheelchair racers started first with a loud cheer from the crowd. I began to feel nervous. The elite runners went next, followed by another group of runners. Now it was my turn, and I took off, feeling very relaxed. I thought my pace was too slow until my Garmin watch told me that I was running spot on goal pace, 4:50 /km.
After the next 3 or 4-kilometres I was in the zone.
Comfort zone really?
The climb from this point is not to be underestimated. It takes you to a palace and park. The water stations were plentiful, very impressive, and they go on forever.
The gentle climbing continues until the 11-kilometre mark. By this stage I knew I was running a marathon. It was time to grit the teeth and get it done. My major issue at that time was that my fuelling didn’t feel right, as the water stations were not very well spaced according to my head. This would prove to be a big problem later.
From 17-kilometre mark you descend and by then you realise how much you have climbed. It’s downhill for 3-kilometres, to the half marathon mark. The crowds at this stage were very supportive. I reached half way in 1:44. From here you head toward the river. At this point, the pain began to set in. My average pace slipped badly and I could not recover. My legs started to cramp up. I had lost too much salt and things were getting really tough.
GO BRENT, GO!
The overwhelming emotion of letting people down really kept me going. My wife Natasha and daughter Sophia were waiting for me at the 26-kilometre mark, but, by that point, I had mentally gone to pieces. I needed something to snap me out of it, I started using the crowd for motivation. Every time I walked, the crowds shouted, “Go Brent, go!” The final 7-kilometres through the park seemed to take forever but afterwards I was happy to have finished the iconic Paris Marathon.
I officially finished in 3:57:41 which is disappointing for me personally. But what a marathon it is. A great course and an awesome atmosphere. Everything a marathon should be. A great journey.
This one has to be on a bucket list of any serious marathon runner. Why this isn’t on the marathon majors list, I do not know.
Paris what an amazing City. It has that feeling where you could go back year after year and still enjoy it.
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