M = Marathon Madness

It amazes me to think that I’ve been a runner for over a dozen years.  That’s quite an achievement for a former couch potato.

During the past years, I’ve run many races – 5k, 10k, half marathons – but only 2 full marathons. Although the first marathon is always memorable for any runner, it was my second marathon that was the most interesting.


The year was 2005.  I had convinced Gilles and our very good friends, Cathie and Bob, to register for the Paris Marathon.  What could be more perfect than running in my favourite city in the world in springtime?

With our race spots in place and a long winter of training behind us, we headed to France for a week of sightseeing and of course the race.

Paris Marathon 2

As he did for my first marathon in Chicago, Bob was running with me in Paris.  I liked running with Bob.  Gilles and Cathie were both much faster than we were and Bob was great company for a newbie runner like me.  He would chat amicably while I couldn’t do much more than grunt and pant.

Neither of us was having a particularly good run that day, but it was nothing compared to the Italian couple just ahead of us on the course.

Paris Starting Line

Race start on the Champs-Élysées

The incident occurred around the 30k mark.  It sounded like they were having an argument of sorts – loud voices (even by running standards) and wild arm gestures.

All of a sudden, she gave him a hard shove.
He pushed her back – equally hard.

A short shoving match commenced, but before we knew it, they were throwing punchs at each other – blows aimed at the face and head.

Within seconds, course marshalls appeared out of nowhere and surrounded the fighting couple trying to separate them.

Bob and I continued to run on in stunned silence for several seconds before we finally looked at each other and burst out laughing.  Did that really just happen?

It’s not uncommon to see some strange things during a race – runners in costumes, jugglers, spectators in costumes, even spectators flashing the runners as they go by – but this was new.  We’d NEVER seen two runners break out into a full-blown brawl.

We amused ourselves for the rest of the race speculating on what triggered the altercation. Years later we still giggle over the incident and I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to that couple.

I suspect they no longer run together.

Paris Marathon

Gilles is so much faster, he had time to go the hotel, shower and change … and still get back in time to see me finish!

April A to Z Challenge 2015

Thank you for visiting me today.  I hope you enjoy today’s treat of Mille Feuille.

mille feuille

Image from cecilecooks.com

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2015, Active Lifestyle, Memories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to M = Marathon Madness

  1. jannatwrites says:

    I’ve never run a marathon or been to Paris, so that in itself would be exciting. I’m not a runner like that, but hey, to see a fight like that, it might be worth considering doing a marathon, haha. That’s just crazy!


  2. treerabold says:

    Oh My!! I can’t imagine seeing a fight between runners…I might have been tempted to use that as an excuse to take a little break and nose in a bit!
    Your energy continues to amaze me. For us “older” athletes….I love the shirt above. I own a shirt with a picture of a turtle that says’……”I am running!”
    Gilles would probably have time to shower AND eat dinner before I finished!


  3. Such a great story – fisticuffs during the Paris marathon😜
    If you must do a marathon, and I couldn’t, you may as well do it in a fab city like Paris. Nice French pastry to complete the experience – perfect.


    • joannesisco says:

      How did you know about the pastries at the end? 😉
      Our tradition is to go for a big dinner after a race – with LOTS of protein. After the Paris Marathon, Gilles ordered a ‘sampler’ plate of different pastries for dessert. This ‘sampler’ was actually a massive platter with way more than the 4 of us could eat. Ahhh – good times 🙂


  4. I never run, but I like downhill biking.


  5. Okay now that’s a great marathon storey, love it.


  6. Lovely post Joanne. I too love the excitement of the big races. My next half is coming up soon in Niagara Falls. I have yet to see a brawl but I have seen the other things you mentioned.


    • joannesisco says:

      hahaha – it’s what makes running so interesting 🙂
      I did Niagara Falls last year and had a brutal race! It is a great course and well organized … I just had a very bad day. I hope it’s considerably less hot and humid for you this year 🙂


  7. Heyjude says:

    I’ll just take the Mille Feuille if that’s alright?


  8. How on earth did you combine gay Paree with a marathon? You would have needed a wheelbarrow to get me around the course after a week in Paris.


  9. Joe says:

    I gained 4 pounds reading your posts Joanne 🙂


  10. Don’t know if I can do a marathon. Long distance swimming, on the other hand… 🙂


  11. Oh boy. You are full of many wonderful surprises, Joanne: climbing mountains and running marathons. I can’t imagine what you’re saving for the rest of the alphabet. You rule! 😀


  12. Okay, this settles it. You are just going to have to sign up to become a member of the police force. Think on this…..it could be one of your new things for the year, it could help expedite your border crossings, and you’d also be well-prepared to deal with situations such as this when they arise.

    Most importantly, why does your husband look so stunned in that last pic, Joanne? Certainly he must be used to you coming up to him in the oddest of places with the oddest of stories by now, yes?

    Another great post, Joanne. I think we’re all getting slightly addicted to learning about you at this point, so perhaps it’s time for you to start writing up a new series of A to Z for May so we don’t all go into withdrawal!


  13. And I run like an aging Kentuckian!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your husband still looks a little stunned in the picture, ha, ha! I wonder if that had been televised? I can only imagine what would happen if they showed all the people dressed up, the winners, the exhausted…and then those two going at it!!


    • joannesisco says:

      There are the highlights of the race and then the low points 😉

      Sometimes I wish I ran with a camera … you just never know what you’re going to see! … but it would be pretty difficult to run and be a photographer at the same time 🙂

      Sometimes the spectators use the race as an excuse to have a street party and they can get pretty rowdy.


  15. They were Italian, right? Probably just discussing what to have for dinner.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Sue Slaght says:

    You look fresh as a daisy post marathon! Wow at the 30 k mark i didn’t have the energy to even utter a word let alone get into a fight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      I KNOW! What on earth could they be talking about during a race that would result in that kind of argument?! Gilles’ comment was that obviously they weren’t running hard enough 😉

      … and yes, I finished that race really strong. Felt like crap during the first half, but found my stride after 30k. Go figure. Ended strong and really happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. “ONLY run two marathons”???? Thats outstanding and makes you now one of my heros. I just started jogging/running a few months after I quit smoking. I am stunned that I can do it. It’s something I could get addicted to. The feeling after a race, that I accomplished something I thought I couldn’t do. Great post! Thank you!


    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you for the kind words 🙂
      I think I know exactly how you feel as you are starting out. When I first started, I couldn’t run to the corner but I had a lot of friends who helped me and encouraged me along the way.

      My first race was a 5k and I was over-the-top excited when I crossed the finish line after running the entire distance without stopping for the first time. The accomplishment I felt from that race still means way more to me than many longer races I later completed.
      Best wishes with your running!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. NotAPunkRocker says:

    The more I read about you during this A to Z challenge, the more I realize how appropriate the title of your blog is! 😀 Keep on with the adventures, lovely lady! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Alex Hurst says:

    Wow, Mille Feuille looks amazing… it totally killed all motivation I had to go start running at the gym again~ haha… (no, seriously, I want to be able to do a marathon one day with my sister, so I am trying to train up now.)


    • joannesisco says:

      Then I will cheer you on through your training!! If you haven’t already, my suggestion is to pick a race, pick a date and register. There is nothing like making the commitment to ensure the training gets done!!

      … and mille feuille is a personal weakness. Love, love, love them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alex Hurst says:

        I want to make a date, but the only one in my area is a full-marathon. A certain defeat! I’ll run in Vancouver once we move… in the meantime, on my own!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Lynn says:

    The picture of the start line is crazy Joanne! Holy, moly, that is a lot of people!

    Regardless of how long it took you to get there, crossing the finish line is a major accomplishment! Kudos to you:)


    • joannesisco says:

      All the major races have a HUGE starting line. I don’t remember the exact number in Paris but it was north of 30,000. There is definitely an excitement and energy in the corrals prior to the start . I think that anticipation is what I’m addicted to more than anything else …. well, except the satisfaction of crossing the finish line 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. NancyTex says:

    Hilarious. If I was guaranteed that type of entertainment, I might actually consider signing up for a distance run. Nah, who am I kidding.


  22. bulldog says:

    I don’t know how you do this… Running, climbing … what else do you do… I would love to know if that couple are still together, forget about running together…


  23. Andre says:

    Wow thats rather crazy. How do you manage tobstay away from marathons? Ive been running just over 2yrs and ive done 4 addict hey! Follow my blog for some fun running related reads!


    • joannesisco says:

      … because I got sidetracked by racing Ironman for 5 years and then completely burnt out. The half distance is much happier for me – I get to have a life other than training all the time 🙂


  24. lovetotrav says:

    Oh my goodness, coming from the non-runner type! That is a huge achievement. I think the argument would have been good for me: something to focus on and think about rather than my own heavy breathing and wanting to stop! Quite the story. Cheryl


  25. Hooley. That race start looks like it would take you half an hour to get to the start line.

    You’ve only been running 12 years and you’ve done two marathons and all those other runs?? I’m (technically) up to six (although it’s been a bit sporadic) and I’ve only got a 10k and a half marathon under my belt. I’m clearly lagging….

    I didn’t even realise you’d done a marathon, let alone two. (Don’t know why.) Geez Louise, you’re an impressive one!


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