If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11
Date : 28th April, 2018
Time : 1h 46’ 54” (16.68 km including plenty of photo and traffic stops)
Number of runners : 80
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2660998448
Media : Let’s Run Paris Facebook
What would you look for in an ideal running club? Presumably it would offer a warm, friendly welcome. And cater for all running speeds and levels. And be free to join / take part – and yet also well organised. Contain at least one runner who could explain string theory. And be based in a beautiful city. Paris, for example.
With the possible exception of the string theory point, I’m guessing most people would go along with those criteria. And, on that basis, Let’s Run Paris, is pretty much the perfect running club. Certainly its right up there with the best running clubs I’ve run with around the world. (Running clubs round the word being one of the few subjects in which I have genuine expertise.)
Even better from a selfish view point, the 80 or so runners were good enough to listen to me talk about Run the World, keep me company on the run, and make donations to Cancer Research.
And, finally, since I was a tourist, they’d also put together an amazing route that took in most of Paris’s major tourist sights. We started at Café Cercle by the Jardin du Luxmeborg, and ran to Notre Dame for our first photo opportunity.
You may have spotted that there are less than 80 of us in the photo above. That’s because the club splits runners into different groups based on their expected pace. I’d had a nasty chest infection over the previous ten days so I plumped for the 5.30” group and hoped that I’d be able to keep up.
The fact that both my nostrils had decided to run along with us wasn’t helping. On the other hand, the conversations with my fellow runners – cancer researchers, bankers, advertising account directors – were helping. As was Paris in the spring sunshine. Glorious.
We moved on from Notre Dame to the banks of the Seine, the Louvre, Tuileries,
Place de la Concorde and up Champs Elysee. It was great. J’avais envie de dire bonjour à n’importe qui.*
We ran past the Arc de Triomphe
and down Ave Foch. At about this stage I started talking to Nick who’s a physics professor. I admitted that I’d never really understood gravity. What exactly is it that pulls us towards earth / other objects? And is it really true that, if I jump in the air, I exert a gravitational pull on the earth which will cause it to move – infinitesimally – towards me? From there we moved onto string theory which is a sort of theory of everything. Some string theory proponents even postulate that there are actually eleven dimensions. Which sounds a lot to run through.
By now we were at Trocadero and it was time for another photo stop with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
We weren’t the only group who thought of stopping at this point.
One group even decided this it would be good place to test the gravitational effect of jumping in sync.
And then the last leg of the run through the Champ de Mars
past Invalides before finishing in Le Jardin du Lexembourg. It was such a great route that I told everyone who would listen that we should make it an annual event.
It just remains for me to thank my fellow runners for the company, the donations and a great run. And huge thanks to Hamza for all his help!
I hope to see you all in Paris next year for the second edition of La Grande Course Touristique !
Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!
*For readers who are new these blogs, they often include obscure musical references. The usual prize for the first to message me the correct artist and song.
Finally, since I’m not sure I can accurately recall everything Nick told me about string theory, here are a few words from Wikipedia on the subject.
In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. On distance scales larger than the string scale, a string looks just like an ordinary particle, with its mass, charge, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the string. In string theory, one of the many vibrational states of the string corresponds to the graviton, a quantum mechanical particle that carries gravitational force. Thus string theory is a theory of quantum gravity.
String theory is a broad and varied subject that attempts to address a number of deep questions of fundamental physics. String theory has been applied to a variety of problems in black hole physics, early universe cosmology, nuclear physics, and condensed matter physics, and it has stimulated a number of major developments in pure mathematics. Because string theory potentially provides a unified description of gravity and particle physics, it is a candidate for a theory of everything, a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter. Despite much work on these problems, it is not known to what extent string theory describes the real world or how much freedom the theory allows in the choice of its details.