Smart Cities

Electric Atmosphere at the Paris Marathon

I love Paris.  I really do.  Paris in the springtime is a wonderful place as the trees begin to bud and the flowers begin to bloom.  Based in France, Schneider Electric – the world’s leader in energy efficiency, has been the title sponsor of the Marathon for the past 2 years.  The 2015 Schneider Electric Paris Marathon took place Sunday April 12th. In my role in our strategic accounts organization, I manage our relationship on a global basis with IBM.  This year, we were fortunate to host several IBM executives and their guest on race day.

Tony IBM Paris Marathon

“Electric” Atmosphere – From my arrival on the Thursday prior to the event, right through late Sunday afternoon, the atmosphere is Paris was “Electric”.  Green Schneider Electric signs and banners were hung everywhere and, as a proud Schneider employee, I always took the time to tell any onlookers that “I work for that company!”

Action Packed Race Day – We started our experience at Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysees with a light breakfast and a meet-and-greet with employees and executives from Schneider.  After breakfast we moved quickly to the first surprise of the day – IBM and I were secured to ride inside of the Schneider Electric which followed the Elite runners around the streets of Paris.

If you’ve ever driven or ridden in Paris, you know what traffic can be like on any given day.  On this bright, beautiful spring day, the streets were empty of cars — We had the opportunity to experience this first-hand .  People from all over the world lined the course to watch the runners navigate these empty streets.  We made a few stops along the route, the first of which was at the 5Km point, were observed the elite runners pass in the mark in just 15 minutes!

The RACE is On As I sipped my espresso and ate my croissant, I reflected on my personal best 5K race at just under 30 minutes.  Wow – I think I’ll have another espresso and maybe some pain au chocolat too.

We finally arrived at the Schneider Electric hospitality area right on the finish line, where we were treated to some refreshments (I had my 3rd espresso of the day and it was only 9:30am …)  The excitement was building as the lead runners made their way down Avenue Foch towards the finish line.  Kenyan-born Mark Korir crossed the line in 2 hours 5 minutes and 49 seconds! What an amazing feat of athletic ability.

For the next 3 hours, our guests and Schneider executives mingled and marveled at the athletes.

Experience of a lifetime  Our guests from IBM and I shared an experience that will last a lifetime.  The sheer will of athletes to push themselves for 42.195Km or 26.2 miles is moving.  Forget the old stereotype – Parisian’s hosted this event with outstanding hospitality, welcoming all to experience their culture.  Somewhere during the event, I switched from espresso to red wine.  As the event concluded mid afternoon, with my official work complete, all that was left was to find a little brasserie some foie gras (yes, I know where it comes from – please don’t judge me) and a nice bottle of Bourgorgne.

Thank you Paris for providing a beautiful canvas for the athlete/artists to do their work.  It was a beautiful day and an experience that will last a lifetime!  Oui monsieur, une autre bouteille, merci!

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