Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Bubble: Marathon de Paris In My Eyes

It's going to be a week since my return from my first trip to Europe.  While it was cold and wet over there, lo kong and I returned to our local weather that has gone on to the extreme.  Rather than the cloudy humid weather we left behind 2 weeks ago, it has been blazing hot!  The hot weather doesn't help to ease our recovery from jet lag.  Lethargy is the word!

Anyway from the little spurts of energy here and there, I finally gathered a few of the photos during lo kong's participation at the Marathon de Paris with another marathon maniac, Uncle Chew.  I think the photos will get the message through ... it was extremely coldddddd!!!

With almost 40,000 participants and added with their supporters including myself, the vicinity of Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees were certainly crowded, especially at the end of the race.  While I may not have shared the two maniacs' experience on the scenic route around Paris running pass iconic Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Bastille and the Chateau de Vincennes, the wait at the start and finish line was as daunting with the strong cold wind sending chills to the bone coupled with intermittent sand-storms that blind the eyes and covered my camera with dust.

A small cuppa hot Haagen Das cappucino that cost £3.50 couldn't help much to keep the warmth.

The 5 hour plus wait for them seemed so extra long under that weather condition as I made my way from the starting line to the ending line, wandering off route here and there to enjoy the grandeur of several historical and architectural wonders!  As I had suspected, the finish line was cordon off from amateur photographers such as 'moi' and I trudged my way back to the waiting area again.  Lo kong was mistaken when he said to meet at 'Meeting Area C' because there were no such meeting place.  I ended up standing in the most open spot against the blowing cold winds and sand so that he and Uncle Chew (whoever comes in first) could spot me in the crowded area.

What a relief when I finally catch up with lo kong.  He finished his marathon at 5hrs 20mins.  Lo kong had assumed that Uncle Chew would have completed the marathon ahead of him and we became worried when we found that his luggage deposit was still unclaimed.  While I waited by his luggage deposit, lo kong went searching for him at the finish line.  We were so relief when we spotted Uncle Chew after he completed his marathon at 5hrs 42mins.

In reality, the marathon was flagged off as scheduled but due to the staggered release of the ensuing runners' pens had caused an unanticipated delay to our travelling plans.  It was already 2.30pm and we had to rush back to our hotel to pick up our luggage as our train to London was scheduled to leave at 5.15pm.
Thankfully I had already purchased the tickets for the Paris Metro back to our hotel while they were running. In our haste to get back to the hotel, we even got on the wrong train, exited the wrong exit and Uncle Chew had to duck under the turnstile to regain 'illegal' entry into the station.  Both lo kong and Uncle Chew did not managed the time to change at all as we hopped into a taxi to Gare Du Nord to catch our Eurostar ride to London (the taxi driver was indeed a blessing when he skillfully swerved in and out of traffic to get us to the station on time).  They even crossed the respective border checks still dressed in their running attires which I think was a plus point since the custom officers were smilingly enquiring about their run.

The queues for respective immigration and custom checks were very long and we finally boarded the train with another 8 minutes to spare ... pheeewww!!!

Catch some of the photos I've compiled at the Marathon de Paris 2012 here.

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