Monday, December 28, 2015

Let's Run Paris - Encore

Well, I had not planned on writing a second post about Let’s Run Paris but after getting to run with them 2 more times I don’t feel like I have a choice.  This is a really great group of people and joining them on the runs significantly enhanced my Paris experience.  I’m not talking about the running.  I’m talking about the chance to hang out with the local cool kids.

Group of early birds at the Bastille.
I already wrote about how I found the group and my first run with them in my post - Let’s Run Paris.  The next two runs were just as magnificent from both scenery and camaraderie viewpoint.  I even got to run on Christmas Eve Day with the crazy part of the group as we started off from the Place de la Bastille at 6:00 am. 

However, as I sit at home, it’s the interaction with kindred spirits that I find myself remembering the most.  For example, I arrived at the Bastille first for our early morning run.  As others arrived, I found myself being greeted by name with warm salutes, les bisous (kisses on the cheek), and the common French greeting of ça va (basically, how are you)? 

On my third run on Saturday after Christmas, it was more of the same except that now I knew even more people.  If you watched my arrival from an outsider’s perspective, you would likely assume that I had been running with this group of years.  This is a testament to their warmth and acceptance for all who join them.

Saturday's start.
Before going on, I need to express my gratitude to the run leaders of Let’s Run Paris.  As a ride leader for my local cycling club, I know what it takes to plan, orchestrate, and manage these adventures.  So, next time you run or ride with a group, please be sure to thank them.  Or better yet, buy them a beer to show your appreciation.

Saturday’s run was another romp through parts of Paris that were new to me.  We ran along the the Promenade Plantée, which was amazing.  I won’t recount the entire run but as far as I can tell, we ran through the 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th and 13th arrondissements.  Once again, even more than the scenery, I am going to remember chatting with fellow runners who were beginning to feel like old friends.  Afterwards, I joined them for a coffee and more chit-chat before bidding them au revoir and promising to run with them again the next time I was in town.

The finish at Luxembourg.
The fact that they are so inviting should not be surprising.  This is a truly international group and running with them was perfect antidote for me based on what’s happening in the world today.  I ran with people from France, England, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Australia, fellow Americans like me, and a few others that I’m sure I missed.  

While Sherry and I like to say that Paris is our second home, the truth is it’s a long transition from tourist to visiter to local.  Fortunately, we moved past the “tourist” stage long ago.  And while we might not be locals yet, my experience with Let’s Run Paris was a big step towards moving beyond being just another visiter.

As you can see, the reasons Let’s Run Paris made this trip so special has little to do with the actual running.  It was the chance to get to share an experience with others while enjoying my “second home.”  It was about their warm and gracious acceptance.  Or, to put it another way, it was about hanging out with the cool kids of Paris.


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