I don’t know about you, but every year I make a new year’s resolution to be healthier and get more exercise. Admirable in theory, but entirely too vague in practice, and year after year these resolutions went nowhere. About two years ago I tried a different tactic and set a specific goal: run a half marathon.
To learn how I got started out of the running block, click here.
Suddenly I had something tangible to work towards, and through my training for this one event I dropped over 20 kilos and never felt healthier. Let me tell you, it was a great bonus on top of my prized finisher’s medal. So if you’re looking to become more active this year or maybe shave off some of that stubborn holiday weight, consider signing up for a race to help motivate you to get out running on a regular basis. Paris is host to dozens of great races throughout the year, and I’ve listed a some of my favorites in order of their distance to get you started.
La Parisienne (7K): September 11, 2016
For some reason, the 5K course distance that is so popular in most other countries is not very common in France. Therefore, if you’re just starting out and want to start with a short distance for your first race, La Parisienne is the race for you. It’s the largest women’s race in Europe, with over 40,000 women participating every year, and at just under 7K, it’s one of the shortest distances on offer in the French capital. Add to this a beautiful route that starts and ends around the Eiffel Tower and is lined with adorable children offering up high fives, and you’ll be smiling the entire way to your first finish line. 2016 also happens to be this event’s 20th anniversary, so this year’s race promises to be extra special.
La Course Des Princesses (8K): June 19, 2016
You read that right. An 8K princess run that happens to be held at the Palace of Versailles. There’s also a 15K race that day if you’re feeling more ambitious, but the princess race is all fun and no stress, with many of the runners dressing up in costumes. The course winds its way through the beautiful gardens of Versailles, and your registration package comes complete with a tiara. What more could you want?
Les Bacchantes (8K): November 11, 2016
A fun 8K run through the Bois de Boulogne, this race is run in support of prostate cancer, and anyone who runs this race must do so wearing a moustache. Whether real or painted on, the moustaches on display are often spectacularly creative, as are the many crazy and inventive costumes. Being a charity run, there’s no finisher’s medal waiting for you at the finish line, but the jovial atmosphere and cheering crowds are more than enough motivation.
20km de Paris (20K): October 9, 2016
This extremely popular race begins and ends at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, winding its way along the river Seine and the Bois de Boulogne in between. Started in 1979, this event has become one of the most popular races in the city, and with its mostly flat course, this is a great race to try if you’re looking to build up your distance. With over 30,000 runners last year, this race always sells out, so be sure to register early.
Disneyland Paris Half Marathon (21.1K): September 25, 2016
If you’re going to go for your first half marathon, there’s no better race than a Disney race, because who better than Mickey Mouse to cheer you on? I have run several Disney races in the past, and they are always well organized and a lot of fun. Their finisher’s medals are also very impressive, making that finish line extra sweet. 2016 will be the inaugural race at Disneyland Paris, so come on out and be a part of history.
These are just a fraction of the races on offer in Paris, but they are some of the most fun and popular. I will be running all of them, so I hope I see you at the finish line. I will also be cheering on the thousands of runners who will be taking part in the sold out Paris Half Marathon on March 6th and the Paris Marathon on April 3rd. If you’ll be running either of those, let me know in the comments. I’ll save an extra loud cheer just for you!