Since I became a marathon woman, I’ve racked up 23 races and 23 medals. And, with 12 races on the horizon between now and November 11th, those numbers are only going to go up. Over the past two years of running, I’ve often been joined by friends and/or family for a race, which makes these events extra special, because when it’s 4AM, freezing cold, and raining, it’s nice to know that someone else is just as miserable as you are.
My latest running buddy is my new roommate who, although he’s been running for several years, had never considered entering a race. That is, until I moved in. All it took was one look at my medal collection and he was determined to earn one of his own. So, earlier this month, we both signed up for the annual 10K race in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
On the morning of the event, we woke up to clear skies and cool temperatures; perfect weather for his first race. There was just one problem; I was down and out with a nasty case of bronchitis. I couldn’t climb up a flight of stairs without hacking up a lung, so clearly, running 10K was out of the question.
If you can’t run, you can cheer!
This meant that on race day, instead of lacing up my sneakers, I bundled up in extra layers, charged up my phone, and became the official cheer squad/photographer. While I was disappointed to not be joining the starting line as usual, the experience was nevertheless incredible.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter if the event is the Paris Marathon or a simple neighborhood run. Running a race of any distance is an incredible accomplishment, and watching hundreds of runners go by, all determined to reach that finish line, is unbelievably inspiring.
Some runners are in it to win, while others simply want to improve their time. Some people are just there to have fun, while others just want to finish. For many, that race is the accumulation of weeks, if not months, of training and preparation. Whatever their reasons for participating, runners all have their sights set on the same goal – and that is a beautiful thing to witness.
On that Sunday morning I clapped until my hands hurt and I yelled “Allez!” as hard as my lungs would allow, and on more than one occasion I surprised myself by getting a bit misty-eyed at the sight of so many runners passing me by.
It was my first time experiencing a race from the other side, and I loved every minute of it.
Get inspired from the sidelines
If there’s ever a run happening in your neighborhood, or if you’re like me and you find yourself unable to participate for whatever reason, it’s worth it to go out and cheer on the runners anyway. The atmosphere is always jubilant, the sights are inspiring, and all of those runners will motivate you for when you line up alongside them at the starting line of the next race. And trust me when I say that any and all support and encouragement along the route is greatly appreciated by the runners.
As for my roommate? Not only did he finish in an amazing 47 minutes, but I’m pretty sure this won’t be his last race. If the blinding smile on his face at the finish line is any indication, it won’t be long before he has an impressive medal collection of his own. In fact, he’s determined to catch up to me. Given the picture above, I’m safe for now, but not for long!
Next up on my race calendar is the annual Course des Princesses, one of my top five races in Paris for 2016. Grab your tiaras and join me for an 8K run around the beautiful gardens of the Palace of Versailles. I’ll see you at the finish line!