A report from Colin Best who joined 23865 other runners for the Paris 20k: Four members of Otley AC, Tom Hannah, Jackie and Andrew Ackroyd and myself, along with four from Wetherby Runners, set off early last Saturday morning for a weekend in Paris for the 20k.
Having done this before I knew there were oddities about French organisation, but this time to relieve congestion at the start we were randomly split into sections, ending up in two separate pens by tape and a line of pompiers (firemen). They just watched as those in the know, or that could be bothered, climbed over, under or pushed down the fence to get to pen in front.
Each pen was set off at five-minute intervals so it was a full 20 mins after the start before we crossed the line. Bizarrely this meant that as we were at the front of the pen we got a good clear start but the further into the race the more congested it became.
The course started at Trocadero opposite the Eiffel Tower, a loop around the Bois de Boulogne and then, for what seems forever, along one side of Seine to finish in front of the tower.
Andrew, somewhat surprisingly, became my pacemaker crossing 5k, 10k and 15k markers together before he finally showed his true form and went off ahead.
Generally we were all pleased with our times and celebrated in the traditional way with a bottle of Champagne; the tone was then set for the rest of the weekend. Some sightseeing was done: Montmartre which conveniently had a wine festival going on, Notre Dame, river trips and Les Galleries La Fayette, all on the agenda. Good company, food, wine and weather.
The results were: 6128nd Andrew Ackroyd (1:38.57), 6677th Colin Best (1:39.54), 8621th Tom Hannah (1:43.17), 9514th Jackie Ackroyd (1:45.03).
The winner was Tebulu Zawude of Ethiopia in 58.7, 2nd Charles Ogarib (Kenya, 58.8) and 1st lady was Sarah Chepchirchir of Kenya (1:5:03).