What happened when we ran from London to Paris?
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225 miles, five runners, four days. Shall we make it?
You probably know by now that I am a keen runner, having finished last year’s London Marathon in a Boston qualifying time of 3 hours and 26 minutes. so when running channel I was asked if I would like to be part of their team that runs from London to Paris, I thought – why not?
Sure, it might sound like a crazy thing to say yes, but if my other challenges have taught me anything, it’s this: You can learn. So A lot by taking yourself out of your comfort zone.
But back to the challenge: from London to Paris. The premise was simple – a relay team of five strangers covers a distance of 225 miles from Rennes Park in London to the Eiffel Tower over the course of four days. While on paper, a half marathon seemed easier in one day than some other multi-stage races (that is, races that are longer than one day), what we soon discovered is that the distance was the actual distance of the race. The challenge will not be – far from.
So how was our fare? Did we eat our body weight in cheese sandwiches, did we survive on four hours of sleep, and more importantly, did we make it all the way from A to B, injury-free? You have to keep reading to know this…
Running from London to Paris: How it Works
run2paris With over thirty years of experience – Andy, Steve and Steve – is the brainchild of three event organizers. They came up with the concept for the race, knowing it was a popular cycling route, but they saw a difference in the market for a fun but achievable team event – a magical type of challenge where you’re in for a lifetime. come together to make memories.
In their own words, they call the challenge “a serious road trip with a moving problem” – an epic yet achievable adventure. So how will 2022 — the first iteration of the event, barring a few repetitions — pan out?
Team The Running Channel
Creating Team The Running Channel, we have Sara – the production assistant and organizer extraordinaire at the channel, Mo – a speed machine and the most positive person you’ll ever meet, Sule – the girl in the group with no sense of direction but the most evil sense of humour. Humor and a huge heart, James — an ultra pro who once ran a five-day sweet ultra and bravely started legs at 5 a.m. without complaint, and I.
We also had a huge support crew – Bradley, Tito and Sarah – without whom we couldn’t have done it. Not only did they drive the van—our changing room, fridge, kit cupboard and nap-pod—for four days, but they also brought consistently high spirits.
In four days, we’ll cover a total of 225 miles and some pretty high altitudes too (no one mentions the hills….) Here’s what I learned along the way.
5 things going to Paris taught me
1. Paris is Fully far
A half marathon a day doesn’t seem that far off in theory, but when you’ve got about four hours of sleep (or even less when you’re at a stormy campsite next to the beach – I’m looking at you, night one) , its Harsh, Couple that with some serious technical trail, steep altitude, lack of road nutrition, lack of proper warm-up and yes, you guessed it, miles take their toll.
My foot was 14.4 miles on the first day, but thanks to some complications with the navigation app, I was running just under 18 miles—plus, no one mentioned that my foot went up and down the ditching beacon, whom I have affectionately referred to as the one forever Real Mountains (it was not far away).
That said, camaraderie was what drove Team TRC forward. And it wasn’t just us – all the nineteen participating teams came together to make sure the excitement ran high and no one was left behind.
2. Runners Are Incredible
There’s something really special about any community coming together, but I have a special soft spot for runners and the Run2Paris participants were something else.
Over the course of four days, I was amazed by the generosity, support, help, and guidance of all 100+ runners—despite their being total strangers. Whether you need water, gels, Vaseline or a jumper, someone is always ready to help.
Not to mention the cheers. Run2Paris wasn’t like other off-road races – rather, the big stops were you navigating yourself, running on your own through the British coastline or the French countryside. This meant that seeing a team go out of their way to cheer you up, push you or offer you water was the biggest morale booster.
There’s nothing like a bunch of runners supporting each other through a slightly crazy challenge. The community is incredible – as was the amount of fundraising.
3. Teammates Are Everything
I’m usually a person with a balanced diet and eight hours of sleep a night, but fun fact: You can do Run on four to five hours of sleep and weird food (translation: chocolate milk and more cheese sandwiches than I care to count) with the support of proper veteran mates.
It’s fun – you forget you’re still tired when you’re swinging other runners through checkpoints, out of the van window with cliff blocks and water (sorry mum), or belting out Ascension.
I had never met the team before the event but I ended up racing for a lifetime with four friends. There is something really powerful in coming together to tackle a team challenge and I feel so lucky that my team was it.
4. Human body is pro in adaptation
Just four days before the incident, I had an accident with a chopping board that resulted in a broken toe and made me question if I would even be able to run. But the human body is incredible and can adapt and overcome a lot.
Running for Paris also taught me a lot about mindset – day two was a short stint, about six miles each. We were all scared of it, and worried about self-navigating the French countryside. That said, we tried to stay as positive as possible and everyone fell in love with our runs. The sun came out, the view was stunning, and we saw some beautiful views along the way. Isn’t it worth loving?
Lots of protein (read our guide to the best protein powders here) The pulse rolling, hydration and food also helped us through all the cruises.
5. You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To
And on that note comes my last valuable lesson from Run2Paris, which I truly, wholeheartedly believe in. If you’re reading this thinking you can never read – you’re wrong. This is the perfect entry level challenge and I promise you will have the best time.
Curious to see how we fared or get a little more inspiration? Watch the full documentary below… and happy running.
Like the look of Run2Paris? Running tips for beginners, training tips for marathons, and our guide to running benefits can be on your road too. Interested in participating next year? head to the run2paris Website for more information.