French Letter Music Blog


French Letter

The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Apr 11

Written by:
Sunday, April 11, 2010  RssIcon

You might remember our former blogging colleague Key Notes and his epic Dublin Marathon run last year. (Sample sentence: "It was now all about ignoring the pain in my right knee (akin to replacing your knee joint with a testicle and running on it for 12 or so miles), and just finishing the race.")

This year, all the CLUAS long-distance running responsibility fell on the shoulders of your Seine-side correspondent. And so this morning your blogger ran in the Paris Marathon for the second time. (You'll remember that Joe Strummer once ran the Paris Marathon, as well as the London equivalent twice.)

The 2010 Paris Marathon setting off down the Champs-Elysées.

The course is quite impressive - starting on the Champs-Elysées, out the rue de Rivoli past Bastille, a tour of the Bois de Vincennes, back into town along the river past the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, then through the Bois de Boulogne and home on the Avenue Foch, just behind the Arc de Triomphe. The route is relatively flat - there's no long uphill drag to compare with the notorious Milltown-Clonskeagh stretch of the Dublin Marathon. And the weather - sunny but not too warm - was great.

Your correspondent, mindful of being your representative in Paris, ran hard and well. For many Parisian women watching the race, it was their first time seeing a real man - medical services performed many corset-loosening procedures along the route.

There was a musical aspect to the marathon - every mile or so a live band or DJ provided motivational tunes. Things began badly: the race started to the inane shouting of Black Eyed Peas. Fortunately, the very first live act was a brass band playing Blondie's 'Atomic' - this set the scene for a pop-tastic marathon.

Most of the live music came from samba groups or brass bands, both great for the spirits. Just before halfway, one brass band was playing 'Thriller', which sounded fun. A French rock band was murdering 'One' by U2, inspiring us to dash out of earshot.

But our abiding musical memory of the 2010 Paris Marathon is an unlikely yet inspired tune. Two miles from home, along a seemingly-endless stretch through the Bois de Boulogne, we passed a loudspeaker blaring out a disco-pop song you wouldn't associate with long-distance running - 'In Private' by Dusty Springfield. Now, both of Dusty's parents were from Tralee, your blogger's home town, and even at the height of her popularity she performed there. As well as that, it's a cracking song - one of several classy singles she made with the Pet Shop Boys.

So, for all you marathon runners out there, here's the erstwhile Mary O'Brien, first-generation Kerrywoman, with the excellent 'In Private':

Location: Blogs Parent Separator French Letter

6 comment(s) so far...


Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Now that is a genius take on marathon running. Not quite enough to convince me that I want to do it, but I certainly enjoyed reading about it.

By Mike on   Monday, April 12, 2010

Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

haha, those are great songs. Would rather have u2 being played whilst doing my marathon, though. (if I ever do one, that is....)congrats on completing it!

By Lia on   Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Excellent stuff m'lud! So, is asking a marathon runner for their time akin to asking a lady their age? Or, at least, were you faster or slower than previously? I'll be listening out for Dusty during the Brussels 20k at the end of May.

By Eoghan on   Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Hahaha, their first time seeing a real man, eh? That explains the inordinate number of swooning ladies in Paris today. Medical services didn't get to all of them in time! I also saw a number of your marathon compatriots around town, limping home -- but majestically so... like war-weary warriors.

You're right, "In Private" doesn't seem like a long-distance running type of song, but I'm tempted to add it to my workout playlist now. It'll fit right in there next to Chamillionaire :)

By Man-shopper on   Sunday, April 11, 2010

Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Well, your pioneering blog research proves me right! If I had been pumped up with Chamillionaire all the way round the route, who knows what might have happened :)

By aidan on   Monday, April 12, 2010

Re: The pop-tastic Paris Marathon!

Mike, Lia - thanks!

Eoghan - one only asks a marathon runner their time if one is oneself a marathon runner. We'll discuss times as soon as you've done the full trip. No pressure, like :)

(Perhaps a more appropriate Dusty/PSB long-distance running song would be 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?')

By aidan on   Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Security Code
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 


Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

Is your Irish band playing in France? Your French band playing in Ireland? Let us know, along with anything else you think we might be interested in.

E-mail: frenchletter(at)

Live from the boulevards and venues of Paris - follow French Letter on Twitter!
French Letter updates and the latest non-Paris stuff too - check out CLUAS on Facebook!



Best French Music

Blogs and sites we like 


CLUAS blogs

Check out these other CLUAS blogs:

Archived Articles

All 'French Letter' articles published between January 2006 and March 2007 have been archived.

RSS Feed

Copy and paste this link into your RSS aggregator of choice  Subscribe