After I registered for the TCS Amsterdam 8K, I decided I wanted to extend my trip to the continent a bit. Initially, I thought about taking buses through the Netherlands and Belgium and running a 10K the following weekend, in Ghent. Then, my friend Camille wanted to join. I did a broader search for races in Europe, and managed to find a race just outside of Paris. Camille had mentioned wanting to travel to Paris, so that made the decision much easier. Admittedly, Paris has never been on my list of places I want to visit, so going with a goal/activity I love made it more palatable. The plan was for me to arrive to Amsterdam a few days early to run the 8K, then Camille would arrive the day after the race, and we’d spend a few days in Amsterdam before taking the train to Paris, where we would run the 10K on our penultimate day in Paris. Even better, I’d be returning to London a few days before Brexit allegedly happens, hopefully avoiding any travel snafus.
Price: 19 euro, or $20.97. And unlike the Amsterdam 8K, this price includes both the medal and shirt. Price: A
I should note that this does not include the medical certificate I purchased. Whereas races in many countries simply require the runner to sign a statement that they are fit to run and won’t hold the race liable for any injuries, when racing in France and Italy runners must provide a medical certificate signed and stamped by a doctor that states the runner is fit to run. It’s great that they take running seriously, but it was annoying that I had to deal with this.
Website: The website was available in a variety of languages, including English. It provided plenty of information about the race. However, when I had questions about the event and emailed the staff, I received no response. C
Publicity: N/A – I’m not exactly tuned into French races. When I searched for the event in Facebook I did find an organization and event, and there’s an instagram page as well.
Transportation to the race: We took the train, which was conveniently located right by the hotel! It only took us about 30 minutes to get to/from the race. We had a bit of a snafu on the way home (The tickets were soggy? Or the machine just decided it didn’t like them?) A nice woman let us enter with her, and then luckily the tickets worked on the way out. Transportation: A
Weather: High 40s and rainy…
Start/finish area: Due to the rain it wasn’t too crazy. There were drummers to get us pumped before we started, which was fun!
Packet pick-up: The location was easy to find and there was a mini expo. When we picked up our bibs, they did not ask us for the medical certificate. Also, the website said we needed to also collect a chip to attach to our shoe. This turned out to be false, as the chip was in the bib. Either they copy/pasted from a different race site, or this info is outdated.
We then went to the Decathlon next door to collect the shirt (I needed to ask a volunteer where to get the shirt because there was no signage). The woman did not believe me when I said I wanted a small (I was wearing a baggy sweater), but begrudgingly gave it to me. She asked about my medical certificate, and since I wasn’t convinced she’d accept my certificate since it was in English, I simply told her I had one.
In addition to the shirt, we got a gel and two kinds of energy bars.
C+ because the process wasn’t super clear and the lady was judgy
Race shirt: Spoiler alert: the race shirt is unisex, so the small definitely fit! I’m disappointed it’s unisex, but I do like the fact that the colors are different:
What I wore: Long-sleeved shirt with the race shirt over it, running cap, and leggings. Plus a very fashionable garbage bag to try and keep my core warm!
Bag drop: Yes! They gave out garbage bags which we put our stuff in (and took some for the above picture). They taped a paper with my bib number onto the bag. This worked great and the bags were stored in an underground parking garage, so everything stayed dry. It also meant that I could check my fleece jacket to wear on the way back. Bag check: A+
Course: The course runs through the St-Denis suburb just north of Paris. We ran through a park just after Mile 1, which was nice! There were some cobblestone streets during Mile 2, which was less fun. Most of the course was urban and there were a few music groups playing for us along the course! My favorite were the bagpipes. Camille and I ran together for the first 5 miles, and then I hit the gas, to try and speed through the last 1.2 miles. According to my Garmin, I ran 6.25 miles in 58:59, so the course was just long enough. During the last mile we ran through Stade de France, which was very cool, and we ended on a small track. I wish the weather was better, but overall I enjoyed the course! It was varied, so there was always something new to see. I even ran without headphones, which I rarely do, and I found I didn’t miss them (much).
Water stations: Two or three, but I didn’t feel like taking water…partly because it was in plastic bottles, and partly because I wasn’t over-exerting myself for the first 5 miles.
Bathrooms: None on the course (I think), but there were several port o potties in the start/finish area.
Pictures: TBD but since we wore trash bags over our bibs, I doubt we’ll find any.
Medal: It’s fun! The medal is shaped like Saint-Denis, hence the uniqueness.
Despite the rain, I had a lot of fun at La Voie Royale! I’ve already found another race by Paris in December, when Lior and I will (probably) return, so I have another opportunity to use my medical certificate…