L’Equipe Paris 10K 2014 Race Report

A few weeks ago a Parisian reader let me know about an upcoming 10K race slated for this past weekend.  Given I had nothing else on the calendar and given that it was a huge race in Paris – The Girl and I decided to give it a whirl.  Plus, the entry fee was very cheap and the start line only a few minutes away.  Perfect!

Packet Pickup:

As has almost universally been the trend at all French races I’ve gone to (and other European races I’ve been to as well), the packet pickup process is mind-bogglingly quick and efficient.  We arrived just before lunch on Saturday to tents setup in Place de la République.


Inside the lines were non-existent and we quickly had our packets.  The only minor challenge was that when we had originally signed up (all of a week and a half ago), there was only the option to sign-up in the 42-minute (plus) corral.  The corrals were all arranged based on expected finish time.


But, it so happened that you were able to very easily move to a different corral if you could pull up a past race result within the past year proving a faster time.  So I grabbed my phone and pulled up a half-marathon time from a few months ago, which got me moved up to the 38-minute corral.  Perfect!

They simply either stamped your bib or added a sticker, showing the new corral.  A number of others were doing the same.

There was a small expo of a few different vendors – some other races, some clothing – but nothing that really stuck out to me.  Plus, they gave us a free technical t-shirt (you’ll see the orange shirts throughout my photos, worn by others).


What did stick out to me though was a Mozzarella–focused food truck.  Or rather, food TukTuk.  This particular company actually has a place (a converted shipping container) down on Les Berges where I often run.


Definitely cool to have good food options onsite at the packet pickup!  There was also a frozen yogurt food truck as well (which, between the two of them makes for approximately 50% of the food trucks in Paris).


With packet pickup efficiently completed we headed on out to run errands the rest of the day as I outlined in yesterday’s post. Lots…and….lots…of errands.


The race started at 10:00AM.  And as of roughly 9:08AM I was still lying in bed.  And, I might still have been there at 9:10AM too.  Hard to say.

But, what counts is that the race start was all of a 5 minute easy jog from our home, which makes for a pretty awesome morning.  Well, that combined with the brilliant steadfast resistance of the Parisians to ever get up before double digits on a weekend – ensuring late starting races.

After an easy jog to the starting area I picked up the pace a bit and started doing loops for about 5-10 minutes in front of the start line.  They had a few block section closed down which made things pretty easy.  I just slowly worked my heart rate up – nothing complex.


I ended up having more time than I knew what to do with, so I kept popping in and out of the starting area.  I was lucky in that my time put me into the preferential area, which made it easy to keep warming up.

Of interest is that they actually had pacers for a number of different times (down to 42 minutes).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen pacers for 10K races in the US.  In watching the pace groups come into the finish line later on – they seemed rather popular.


Last but not least, I setup my watch for the race.  I actually did two sorta different things than normal.  First is that I reduced my data pages down to simply time, distance and pace.  Nothing else.

Then, for the heck of it I setup the Virtual Partner for 6:10/mile.  I figured 6:15/mile would be too slow, and 6:05 might be a bit too ambitious in the hills.


And, on that note – I’ve actually pretty much just been solely using the Scosche RHYTHM+ lately as my (optical) heart rate strap (at least when I’m not testing a product requiring a different strap).  Loving not wearing the HR strap and it ‘just works’ (normally it’s under my shirt sleeve a bit more, but I pulled it up for this photo).


With that – things were just about ready to go.  Here’s the view looking back.  Crazy, huh?  Approximately 20,000 runners.


The Race:

Up until just about 60 seconds before the start of the race there had been this crazy metal fence separating the first wave from the second wave.  But then they removed that and just had a little blue ribbon (which didn’t last long).


As you can see here, I hung out at the back of this tiny little section since I figured I’d be closer to the 38 part of 38 and under (wave), and faster people would likely be ahead, so I wanted to stay out of their way.

Unlike most races around these parts they actually had a 10-second countdown, and with that – people were off!


It’s somewhat mind boggling how I took this photo just a few seconds after the start line – I fail to understand where on earth all these people came from.  My starting corral area wasn’t more than 5 meters deep.

My only goal for the first kilometer or so was not to go out too fast.  Which, I suppose is generally always my goal in running races.


Just a couple minutes after leaving the start we passed Hotel du Ville, where they were putting the finishing touches on moving an entire live forest (yes, trees) to the concrete plaza for two weeks.  More on that in a future post I think.


Soon my first kilometer (as well as my first mile) were behind me, and things were looking pretty stable on both fronts:

Kilometer #1: 3:47
Mile #1: 6:04

Good deal, not too fast, not too slow – just about right.  And I was feeling perfectly fine on all fronts.

There were bands along the vast majority of the course.  There were so many bands that at times it felt like a radio station in my head that never stopped – shifting from one couple block section to the next.


A short bit later I cruised through Bastille, where I often do 1600m and 800m repeats around the canal next to it.  Today though I got to run across the giant crazy intersection without any cars.


A short bit later while running alongside the elevated running path (up to the left in the photo below) I saw an elephant playing the trumpet.  I figured it was worthy of a photo.  And, I even gave him his requested High-5.


Pace meanwhile was going quite nicely.  I clipped through kilometers 2 and 3, as well as mile marker 3 pretty even:

Kilometer #4: 3:44/KM (Overall average pace)
Mile #3: 6:06/mile (Overall average pace)

The next part though is where I would lose a little bit of speed as we hit the rolling hills.  Not massive Pyrenees hills, but certainly some solid rollers.  Here’s a quick elevation map, with my heart rate mapped against it:


The 5K marker indicating the half-way point was conveniently located at the bottom of one such hill.  Shortly before that was an aide station – though I didn’t stop at all.


I lost about 10-20 seconds per mile going up the two main hills.  Not ideal, but that was about as fast as I could go.  You can sorta see one of these hills here.  Though, realistically it never looks that big in a photo.


Apparently there weren’t actually any hills at all in last year’s course (a point which many people made clear to me).

From a pacing standpoint I was purely looking at my lap paces (which I was keeping in miles), and tracking based on that.  I was not actually using heart rate at all (though was recording), but rather just perceived effort this time.

Oh, and about that Virtual Partner? I completely and totally forgot about it.  Likely because my pacing was spot-on with that number so it didn’t really have much reason to get upset at me.

The only good part about the hills is that the last kilometer is 100% all downhill to the finish.


One would think 1,000m of downhill action to the finish would go by quickly, but apparently not.  I was trying to do the math in my head of how long it would take if I combined my 800m repeat time with my 200m sprint times and then added a slight fatigue factor plus the downhill component.  The problem was the drums ruined my concentration on that math problem.


So..I just kept running as fast as I could go.


Shortly before the finish line the smoke canons went off with some confetti.  I’m not entirely clear why – I think it had to do with a woman crossing the finish line just ahead (though not sure what place, but camera crews met her).  For now, I’ll just assume they were welcoming me.


In case you’re curious, the over the shoulder backwards looking shot of the finish line:


My official time was 38:26 – for an average pace of 6:11/mile (3:51/KM).  Of course, it took me a couple seconds to stop my watch (and I usually start it a second early), so my exact watch time is slightly different.

Still, I always like the race analysis option that Strava has for splits over the course of the race.  Here’s two versions – the first in metric (kilometers), and the second in statute (miles).





After catching my breath I had a few minutes until The Girl came on through.  She was slightly behind me in a different wave, so I didn’t quite know how long it was until she got to the start line.  Turns out it didn’t take too long.  Just as I was trying to guesstimate the deferred start time + run time math she arrived on the scene at the finish line…and promptly tossed her breakfast just after the finish line in the main chute (photo below not initial cookie tossing).  She was feeling sick but decided to give the run a go anyway.  Nicely done!


As she caught her breath we walked down the rest of the chute and past the anti-doping tent.  Kinda neat to see at a 10K event.


Then it was off to more important things, like the free food and drinks.


Which, had tons of options, including most notably Haribo gummy alligators (very popular in the Paris Metro system):



Then, it was time to retrieve a rather weighty medal for my morning’s work.  Seriously, all of this for 25€.


Looking back to the masses of people finishing was pretty crazy:


Also of note in the finishing corral (as well as pre-race) was just how many DCR readers said ‘Hello’.  It’s definitely cool to see folks out there, and a few more said hello on e-mail a bit later in the day.  Fear not, you can always say hi to either myself or The Girl – we generally don’t bite!

Since the run ended in a slightly different place than it started, we ended up just grabbing the Metro home – just like many other runners.


And finally – by time I got home they already had results posted and even little downloadable PDF file certificates.  I do want to point out just how darn fast Parisian runners are in general.  The fact that most of my photos are packed with runners all running sub-40 is really impressive.  But, I’m still at a loss for where all these fast people train.  Someday I’ll figure it out.


Thanks for reading!


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  1. Markus T.

    If you are wondering who your contestants were, check out Strava Flyby: link to labs.strava.com

    Just select some runners, and then stalk the faster ones and where they do their usual running ;-)

  2. Christian Selvaratnam

    Hi Ray, can you tell me what software produced the “Race Analysis” in your post. Thanks.

  3. I do around ~40mn and I train in the buttes chaumont (hilly) and near the canal de l’ourcq (flat) :)

  4. Ben

    Looks like an amazing race I will have to put it on my wish list for next year now I have got the bug, I did my first ever race (well run with other people to be fair) last week and I was exactly ten minutes slower than you! Looks like I need to put some more work in!

  5. MikeDozer

    I admire that you have the strength to take pictures during 10K Run :)

    Scosche RHYTHM+ :) why not MIOlink?

  6. Where do you find out about races in Paris? Is there a French website like Running Calendar?

  7. You should try the damloop, sept 21, sometime it’s a 10mile race from Amsterdam to Zaandam, the biggest run in the Netherlands. Last year it had 55.000 runners, and it grows every year. Very well organized!

  8. Lior

    It’s amazing that you can run so fast while taking pictures.

  9. klonnolk

    Ray, when I’m using “standard” HRM belt with 910 I got TrainingEffect. I can also “turn on HRV” recording, and analyze it with Firstbeat. It looks like 910 measure hrv, but not saving it. So do I need standard belt to get TE? Will optical strap give me TE? Don’t know if 620 got TE, but what is shown in GC in TE field?

  10. hollyoak

    Well done and thanks for the report as I couldn’t make it this year, I’ll be in Vincennes on Sunday though. You were impressed by the entry fee but this is in fact one of the more expensive 10k races in the Paris area at €25, most of them are in the €10/€15 range ;-)

    Any upcoming races in the area? They’ve just opened registrations for the “Semi du Bois de Boulogne” in November : link to semi-marathonbb.fr

  11. Gunnar

    I’ll second the Scosche Rhythm +.

    Very pleased with its performance and comfort. I keep it on my upper arm per your suggestion which works great.

  12. Alexandre Siqueira

    Did you use Garmin virb for the pictures? And carrying it on the hands as usual or any new way to do it?

  13. Baruch

    First time I’ve ever seen a race medal with my birthdate on it! and in such large numerals!

    I’ll have to find an appropriate race one year.

  14. Tim


    Is The Girl trying to get more screen time by puking at every race now??? Maybe you need to add a sub-header on the left scroll bar for “Post Race Puke Pic”.

    Joking aside, I hope she is ok and there isn’t an underlying medical issue. If I remember correctly, The Girl puked at Boston, too–once is an anomaly, twice a coincidence, more than that is a trend. Please make sure she goes to the doctor, if for nothing else then peace of mind for all of us out here in cyberspace.

    PS–great pics! Every time I try to shoot during a race, all my pics come out blurry and crooked.

    • I think it’s only two anytime recently (save a hamburger incident we both puked on mid-race a number of years ago in DC), so pretty rare.

    • Thanks for the concern Tim, and have no worries!
      The puking is actually no coincidence at all. I have been really sick with allergies here in Europe this spring (and last), and having never experienced allergies before moving to Paris I am not used to taking the medicine. Unfortunately my stomach hasn’t been too keen on any of the different brands I have tried including children’s dosages, and thus I have been trading off between the chemical nausea from the meds and the laundry list of miserable allergy symptoms since early April.
      So, it’s been really disappointing, Boston I was sick, St. Mont Michael Marathon I didn’t even make it to the start line (that was my “A” race for the year), and then Sunday I figured how bad could it be for a 10km?
      Anyways, I appreciate the check in. I hope to post some faster times in the fall :)

    • Paul E

      Been there myself. Running previously on medication and didn’t affect me until I ran. Then it’d be the cookie show every time. Finally got past that medicine and the cookies stopped tossing.

      Hope your allergies subside soon!

    • Thanks Paul, me too!
      Honestly catching a flu or cold would be better than allergies! They just won’t go away?!

  15. Hey Ray, nice job at the race and excellent report as usual!

    I figured 6:15/mile would be too slow, and 6:05 might be a bit too ambitious in the hills.

    I wish 6:15 was slow for me! :)

    • BillM

      I guess you are just another one of that elite group of runners, myself included, who do a fantastic job at not running too fast ;-)

  16. Greg

    The smoke show occurred when the first woman crossed the line. You can see her with a black shirt in front of you on picture link to dcrainmaker.com. Nice meeting you at the end of the race, and thanks for your excellent race summary!

  17. Sean

    Know of any races in Paris next week? I’ll be there 24-28JUN

  18. Elise

    If the average running speed is 6.06 miles/ hour, wouldn’t it take over 1hr to complete a 6.21 mile distance? What am I missing? Thanks.

    • Reid

      Not quite, 6:06 is pace (min/mi) not speed (mi/min). So 6.1 min/mi*6.21 mi = 37.88 min, which is close enough.

    • Andre

      6:06 minutes per mile. not miles per hour

    • ximoosea

      Elise….you are correct about the math as you wrote it, but your mistake was that Ray’s pace was not 6.06 miles/hour, instead it was 6.06 minutes/mile, thus: 6.06 minutes/mile x 6.21 miles = 37.6 minutes which is very close to his finish time.

    • Reid

      Splitting hairs here, but the engineer in me is threatening my life unless I let it out:

      the pace was 6:06 vice 6.06 so the conversion to a useful number we can multiply with is 6:06=6+6/60=6.1. Probably just a transcription error from the article to the original post which you ran with, but for completeness’ sake…

      And for completeness completeness we should back calculate his GPS distance run to estimate his actual distance run and determine his course efficiency (a metric I just made up: eta_course=[1-|d_act-d_nom|/d_nom]*100%)…98.55%. Which, funnily enough, is also the % difference between his actual finish time and the nominal 10k distance finish time at his average GPS pace.


    • Actually, I think there was just some confusion above. The 6:06 I was referring to mid-way through the post was purely at mile 3 (average pace at that point, not the mile 3 pace), not at the finish. The average pace at the finish is 6:11.

  19. Dan Lipsher

    Great report, Ray — and great pace! Hope The Girl’s intestinal woes subside soon. (She’s not about to give the world a tiny Ray, is she?)

    Consider this my entry for the 1200-0200 Grand Extravaganza! Seriously, dude, you really outdo yourself every year. I’ll enter as often as I can and won’t win (the odds are considerable), but I wish your 12(!) lucky winners nothing but continued good fortune — and hard training.

  20. MAGNUS

    Great report. Look forward to eventually getting down to that pace.

  21. Amedeo

    I don’t know why but I think you could prefer this post races:
    link to imgur.com
    (and many other foods too)

    Moreover you could race with this panorama
    link to positanophoto.com

    all of this for just 6€ (Vesuvio’s ecotrail, a few km south of Napoli)

    Will I find you there next year? :-P

  22. Matt

    Looks like a great event!

  23. Paul E

    Is this race about the same time of year every year? It’d be cool to visit France during June and manage to sneak in a 10k like this! Looks like quite the event!

  24. RZ605

    Just curious why you decided to run with the FR620 in this race. I’m considering different devices right now to replace an old Polar and was wondering.

  25. Staffan

    So why didn’t you use the V800? Do you have a preference for the 620?

    • For me, the biggest issue with the V800 is that I can’t export the data. And thus, I can’t really analyze the data or upload it to 3rd party sites. Deal killer (at least until they add the capability later this year).

    • Staffan

      Some users complain about 620:s instant pace, it’s too sluggish (too much of a moving average). Can you compare both watches in this respect?

    • I don’t have any problems with my instant pace. And within each review I include video clips of the instant pace. Cheers.

  26. Paul LaRosa

    Ray – thanks for the fantastic race report! My wife and I visited France in June and I was fortunate to participate in the L’Equipe 10km in Paris. This was my first race outside the U.S. and your blog captures the event so well and brings back wonderful memories. I’m missing my daily wine, cheese, bread, and running along the Seine. Can’t wait to return!

  27. Dan

    I’ve only just stumbled across this as I’m doing the race this coming Sunday. It’s a completely different route and I’ll be more in the 50+ mins category. Wish me luck!