Paris Marathon Result & Report

Race Date: Sunday 2nd April 2023

Race Report by Sam Ainscough


A friend ran the Paris Marathon in 2022 as her first ever marathon and she spoke very highly of it, so I thought “why not?”.

I flew into Paris at midnight on Friday – the reason for this was not to be overly dramatic or romantic, but because of an unexplained 2.5hour delay with the flight from Manchester. This had a domino-effect upon every subsequent mode of transport to the hotel, so I ended up checking-in at 3am – c’est la vie!

Saturday was spent sight-seeing:

  • Taking on way too many steps to ascend half-way up the Eiffel Tower;
  • Enjoying the beautiful artwork in the Louvre; and
  • Queueing in the world’s longest queue to get into the Paris Marathon Expo – it was a great event, but I would probably visit on a quieter day if I were to participate again.

I did spend the evening napping, carb-loading and watching an amazing Ligue 2 match on TV – Bastia 3-2 Sochaux! Fantastique!

Then the day of reckoning! I took the Metro to just-off the Arc de Triomphe – I decided to arrive early so that I could shake off any pre-run nerves. The race begins on the Champs-Élysées and the street was filled with smiles, colours, nerves and excitement! The organisation of the start was top-notch – waves of people cascading over the start line to tackle a great challenge. I saw a stat that 43% of participants were completing their first official marathon – incredible!

As I approached the start line I had one goal in mind – sub-4 hours! I ran the Amsterdam marathon in October 2022 in 4:02:29, and even though I appreciate the 4hr mark is just an arbitrary boundary, I was keen to beat it. My training had been spotty at best though, so my chances were slim.

Once over the start line, I was keen to maintain a steady-pace of around 5:25 – too often have I gone off way too fast at the start of events, and then faded horribly in the latter stages. The route initially weaves through central Paris – the Opera houses… the Louvre… Place de la Bastille. Some great sites, and a lot of support from people lining the streets “Allez, allez, allez!”

The feed stations were every 5km and were very welcome – a nice bottle of Vittel water and a choice of cake, biscuit or banana.

After the 10km mark, you hit Bois de Vincennes which is a large, sprawling park which was lovely to run through for approx 10km.

At approx. 20km, you begin your return to central Paris – this is the distance in which I started to wobble in my previous marathon so I was focused on keeping that steady pace.

After 25km you are essentially following the Seine for 10km and you start to see the Eiffel Tower creep into view. There’s one point (at approx 27km) where you are running through a tunnel for 2km – this felt surreal and amazing at first, but then it became really tough and hard to keep pace! It was at this point that I started to believe that I could potentially come in with a under 4hours – my mind was frantically working out the permutations at what pace I could drop to, whilst also pushing my legs to keep going!

From 35km onwards, you are weaving back to the Arc de Triomphe – it was starting to feel really tough now, so I was chunking it up in to known-sizes such as “this is approx 3 laps of Endcliffe Park” or this is “just over 4 laps of Manor Fields”!

Once I hit the 41km mark, I managed to find a little bit more energy to push towards the finish with a final time of 03:51:48. I was very happy with this time. A 10 minute PB! I put it down to 2 factors:

  1. This was my second marathon – I knew I could survive it, and that gave me that little bit of confidence to give a little bit more whilst out on the course; and
  2. Running for BHF. The fact that so many people had generously donated added a little bit of positive pressure to the run. I also ran for BHF because of my Dad, and I wanted to make him proud.

To celebrate? A massive burger on the Champs-Élysées followed by a few pints!

As with the Amsterdam marathon, I would recommend this event to anyone – fantastic organisation… a great route through a beautiful city… a lovely running bag, technical shirt and medal, as well.

My review in two words? TRES BIEN!


P.S. If anybody still wishes to sponsor, then you’re a hero! Please visit:

Sam with his finisher’s medal at the Arc de Triomphe

50,756 runners took part in the Paris Marathon. Abeje Ayana won the men’s race in a time of 02:07:15. The women’s race was won by Helah Kiprop in a time of 02:23:19. Neither winner was associated with a club.

Striders Results

P Name Cat Cat P Time
20031 Sam Ainscough M0H (MV35) 2680 03:51:48
22739 Rob Hale SEH (SM) 7664 03:56:35

Full results are available on the website.

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