Last week I ran the EcoTrail Paris which starts at the Palace of Versailles and finishes right at the Eiffel Tower, and still has a lot of trail in between.

The 80 k runners even get to finish on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. All others - including me running 45 kilometers with 800 meters of altitude, finish on a bridge at the foot of the tower, which is really beautiful, too.

I decided to sign up for this race only one week before, when I saw that this event, which I had flirted with many years ago, was taking place the weekend after a conference in Paris I was participating in. I had originally planned to take the train back to Munich on Friday. The run was Saturday. Tempting...

Monday, the day before I left for France, five days before the race and on the last day of the registration period, I registered.

A conference with many nice colleagues, a program from morning to night, many discussions and a lot of wine in the evenings is not the most ideal preparation for a race, but what can you do? The day before the race I ran to the start number distribution (yes exactly, tapering with a 15 k run...). 

In the afternoon the tapering continues: museum, long walks, some shopping…

Race Day!

In beautiful spring weather, I set off on the day of the race, hanging on to easily recognizable other runners at the station in Versailles and together we march off, towards the castle, and on to the gardens, where the 45 k runners start their race.

Through parks and forests it goes up and down, and I'm surprised: We are in the greater Paris area, but there we are, running on trails, with a lot of mud and altitude. Sure, in between there is always asphalt, we run through smaller towns. But then it's straight back onto the trail.

The route is fun, and so is the whole event. It is super organized, very thoroughly marked (there is not a single moment on the way when I don't see any markings), the helpers at the two aid stations are super nice and helpful.

As predicted, it begins to rain, and to the minute, at 14 o'clock, after we had previously wonderful sunshine. It suddenly pours so heavily that I take out my rain jacket at the aid station. A cup of drinks and a handful of nuts later (everything in cups I brought with me, the run is very sustainably organized), I'm just getting back on my way, but it stops again and the jacket comes off again. The next steep climb comes soon, behind me a runner soothes his tortured looking friend that this is now certainly the last climb. We meet still a few times during the race and a few times more I hear the runner saying to his friend, that this is certainly the last climb.

At some point it occurs to me that this year I have not really trained for those climbs yet. My legs seem to tell me as much. But well, somehow I get up there, again and again. And the great thing is that after an ascent comes a downhill at some point. After the second checkpoint at kilometer 35, we run down to the Seine. Now follows an almost completely flat section on asphalt, the first kilometers quite boring and not particularly pretty, but the last kilometers offer a nice view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. When we have to run up on a bridge, behind me I hear the now very familiar assurance that this is the last climb for sure. I must laugh. Laughter is good when the legs are heavy.

And there it is: the very last climb: The stairs up to the Pont d'léna, after those we turn left and there it is, the finish line! Very happy I cross it after 5:40 hours. At the finish I get bread, cheese and someone pours a beer into the small cup, which usually takes Iso and Coke at such races. I sit in the sun and talk with a South African woman, whom I have met during the race again and again. Another small beer, then a soup, nice conversations and pure happiness while sitting here at the foot of the Eiffel Tower after such a wonderful race. Paris EcoTrail – I will be back!

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Andrea Löw

Historikerin von München

Altersklasse: W 50

Meine Disziplinen
Traillaufen Ultratrail Yoga / Pilates Marathon Ultramarathon

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