- 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I ran the Paris Marathon in April 2019 and broke 4 hours for the first time, running 3:59:27 (a 9-minute PR).
I wasn't sure I would PR as I'd read reviews about the pesky cobblestones and been told by friends that the course wasn't the easiest, especially with the ups and downs as you run along the Seine river bridges towards the end. I actually barely noticed the cobblestones, as they weren't the super uneven medieval ones, but rather the flatter and smoother ones. I also wasn't too bothered by the inclines towards the end--my Garmin also recorded 528ft elevation gain, which isn't negligible, but it also isn't terrible for a marathon. I had done a handful of trail runs in my training, however, which I think helped in making the inclines seem relatively less difficult. Bottom line course-wise: this can be a PR course, if you do some hill work.
Expo - the expo was crowded, but I got my bib in just a few minutes (I arrived the day before the race midday). There are several sports vendors, but not a lot of free food/fuel samples (what I'm always looking for LOL). There is a food court with typical fast food, though.
Swag - the shirt this year was garish and frankly ugly. The fit was good though, and it was made from recycled bottles, which is cool. The medal was also pretty disappointing for such a major race. It was super simple and basic compared to past years, and compared to other smaller scale races.
Course - as I mentioned, the course wasn't really easy or hard; there are some inclines to watch out for towards the end, but they're not bad. It's super nice to run through all the iconic Parisian sites and finish at the Arc de Triomphe. One thing to note: there was a green line along the course that indicated the exact distance; if you follow that, you should get as close as possible to 26.2 (I tried following it and still got 26.5, but it's hard to be exact in a marathon).
Fuel - fuel was every 5k or so, though the first station was about 4mi in. As with most European races, there was no gu or energy drinks, just water bottles and fruits and other solid foods.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this race! There are some points of improvement, but it's such a lovely place to run, and the race logistics are very efficient for such a big race.
Read more details on my blog post here: https://www.imperfectidealist.com/2019/04/race-review-paris-marathon-2019.html