8. Paris Marathon
Paris has never struggled to attract visitors in the springtime. It’s just that in the past, not many of them came to run the city’s marathon. With a reputation for organisational incompetence and indifferent support, the Paris Marathon has traditionally failed to catch the imagination of the running public. Things have definitely changed. The organisation has improved noticeably and it has the budget to draw a decent elite field – runners now flock to the race in their thousands. Support is still limited, but Paris now has a race worthy of its standing as one of the world’s great cities.The course: Most European marathons promise a sightseeing tour on foot and then route you through large stretches of industrial wasteland. Paris delivers, squeezing just about everything the city has to offer into this 42km loop of the city. It’s not a fast course but there’s plenty to see.
Highs: Paris in the spring.
Lows: The apathy of Parisians towards their marathon. (And the fact that you require a doctor’s certificate saying that you are fit to run.)
Watch out for: Downhill start over worn cobblestones.
Contact: Marathon International de Paris, A.S.O. Athlétisme - 2 rue Rouget de Lisle TSA 61100 92137 Issy-les-Moulineaux Cedex; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
UK contact: Sports Tours; 0161 7038161