Our Blog - Marathon 2017

We decided to be volunteers for the Toulouse Marathon this year. It is not *just* a marathon: they have a 10K, a 1/2 marathon, the normal marathon, a handicap marathon, and a marathon relay (4 runners). It is a purely urban marathon, running through the streets of Toulouse.


We worked on Saturday within the Village, which was setup on Place du Capitole. Our mission for Saturday was to give out the dossards, or the race bibs, to the marathon participants. It was a long day, starting at about 8am and ending at about 7pm. We did get a lunch break, and lunch was provided at the cafeteria of the University. They had setup multiple tents on the place, including different pickup's for the 10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon, and Relay marathon. Here you can see Tom at our station, giving out the marathon dossards for A - El. As they came up, we used a tablet to either scan their QR code or look them up by name. We would get them to sign and provide them their race bib. If by chance they hadn't provided their medical certificate to clear them for the race, they could provide it to us as they picked up their bib. We ended up standing almost all day, which was quite tiring. We were provided a volunteer uniform: a t-shirt, rain jacket, and hat.


Marathon Day!

Here is the actual marathon route, which starts right near the National Stadium (home of our Toulouse soccer team) and wound around town, to finish at Place du Capitole. The 10K and 1/2 marathon routes started and ended at the same place, but (obviously) took different routes. The handicap and relay ran the same route as the marathon.

So here is a picture and a video with the handicap marathon leaders at the time that they went by us, which was about the 29 1/2 KM mark.

For Sunday, our mission was around the relay, so I really didn't get to see much of the marathon itself, as we were getting things setup and eating lunch around the time that the elite marathoner's were going by. We had never heard of a marathon relay before, so I'll explain. This is a team of 4 runners, each which takes a part of the course. Teams could be any combination of men and women, as long as there were 4 of them. The first runner started at the same place as the others, Pont de Courbertin, and ran for 11.7 km. They then handed off the team dossard (which was on a belt) to the second runner, who went 6.8 km. The 3rd leg was 11.2 km and the 4th was 11.9 km. Each runner up to the last, when finished, would take the metro down to the Musée des Augustins and the team (all 4 runners) would run the last 600 meters (or so) together as a group. So our mission was 2-fold: prior to the start, we setup the area where the relay runners would deviate slightly from the marathon path, exchange the team dossard, and then rejoin the marathon path. We also helped the runners make their way from the metro to the exchange area, and those that finished running the 2nd leg, we got them back to the metro to rejoin their team for the last 600 meters. Then during the race, we would make sure that the relay runners got off the route while the marathoners stayed on the route.

A total of over 13,000 runners took place, including 2645 finishers of the marathon. The times ranged from 2:11:56 for the winner down to about 6 1/2 hours for the last place finisher. It was a close finish, with the 1st and 2nd place being 2 seconds apart. They had a cocktail party on Sunday night for the volunteers, and they had a presentation of the winners for both men and women. Here are the 1st and 2nd place winners for the ladies, both from Ethiopia. The winner, Tesfanesh Merga, is at the left and the 2nd place finisher, Halima Hussen, is on the right ... only 4 seconds separated them. They had a pretty good lead ... 6 1/2 minutes over the 3rd place finisher.

Then they announced a set of the men finishers ... and maybe even in the 1/2 marathon ... I wasn't following all of these. I think these were the top 3 ... going left to right (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Mind you .. I think the top 10 finishers were from Kenya!

Then they added (I think) the 1/2 marathon, but that is when I started losing track ... so here are just a jumble of pictures ...

As we were getting ready to leave, we saw these 2, I think the 2nd and 3rd place finishers for the guys .. and I grabbed a picture with them!

So we had a fun time, although they were very Loooonnnnnggg days of work, mostly on our feet. I don't know that I've stood that long for a decade! I think we'll volunteer again next year, although we may try a couple of the other missions so that we would have Sunday free to watch the actual marathon.