Sunday, September 30, 2012

Run, Versailles, run!

Let's start running, guys! How about 16km in 47 minutes and one second? We would start near The Eiffel Tower on the Quay Branly, then we would continue on the Seine banks to Issy Les Moulineaux (the city of the Microsoft French HQ), then to the Gardes hill in Meudon, to finally arrive at the feet of the Versailles castle, but only if we successfully resisted to the fairies charms in the Meudon enchanted woods, of course!

More pictures after the jump...

A turmoil began a few days ago all over the Internet, when a bunch of normally well-intentioned people started praying out loud that some of their fellows get sick, die or get married unexpectedly. Only some! The reason for these unchristian thoughts was that only this way they could still hope to participate to the Paris-Versailles race, an atypical road running event (nothing is typical in Versailles: this race is 16km long) held every last Sunday of September, for the last 35 years. It is named "La grande classique", the great classic, even if it started the same year as the Paris marathon, 1976. What can I say?... You should already know by now that Versailles is so much more classical than Paris!

Those who never went to see a race in real life cannot understand the electrical atmosphere, the energy and power of such a venture. It is where the human strength, effort and determination show what amazing piece of art the mind and body are. Here they are, 21200 humans at their best, trying to surpass themselves on a chilly September morning, runners mingled at first with the passers-by, spectators cheering as the athletes show up, then the mass of runners coming wave after wave, exhausted but happy.

Last year I've seen a poor man collapsing with fatigue just 3 meters before the arrival gate. The Red Cross volunteers carried him respectfully until he passed the gate and after that only they looked after him. People had tears in their eyes.

A big merci to my friend Pierre who was so gracious in providing the pictures!

You can watch here the race route (commented in French):


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