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The Paris Marathon [With Animation] – Good Day – April 9th, 2017

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Published on , last updated on April 29, 2021

Paris Marathon header image

I’m back with another marathon experience! At the start of 2017, I challenged myself to run 2 marathons under 4:00:00. This post is about the first part of this challenge. The Paris marathon was my first marathon in 2017, and I wanted to give it all I had. I want to show you exactly how this experience influenced my happiness at the time.

I have tracked my happiness throughout this entire day, also during the Paris marathon itself. Before trying to explain what this experience did to me, I want to show you a quick summary of what happened. The animation below shows my whole experience while running this beast of a race.

How running the Paris Marathon affected my happiness
Visualizing how I felt when running the Paris marathon!

Just like I did during my previous marathons, I mentally recorded my happiness ratings during my run. This shows you exactly how I felt during this 42,195 meter long run.

Let me first give you a quick re-cap. My previous marathon, which I ran in Nottingham, was technically a major success! It was the first time I ever crossed the finish line under 4 hours. I only had two seconds left on the clock, but I made it!

Anyway, after this 3rd marathon, I obviously wanted to finish an even stronger marathon. I had one goal in Paris, and that was to beat my previous marathon time. I’m looking at you, 3:59:58! ๐Ÿ™‚

Before diving into the specifics of the race, I want to show you how exactly I tracked my happiness on this day. How did running my fourth marathon in Paris influence my happiness?

The data

Below is the data that I entered in my personal happiness tracking journal. This shows you how I rated my happiness on this day.

DateApril 9th, 2017
TimeDay after
LocationParis, France
Happiness rating8,50
CommentSo I ran my fourth marathon today! What a fucking distance… Anyway, let’s start at the beginning.

I woke up feeling great. The pre-race craziness was alright. I was able to take the public bike to the start. When I arrived, I realised how many fucking runners were competing. SO MANY.

My wave started at 09:15, but I only crossed the starting line at 09:30. By then, the weather was already quite hot and sweaty. A full sun in the sky. The first couple of kilometers were pretty exhausting, because I couldn’t find my pace. I had to adjust my speed all the time in order to avoid hitting others, and it was very frustrating.

Over time, it gradually become hotter. I had to drink 2 cups at every stop and was sweating my ass off. I slowly lost control of my heart rate as well. I knew it was going to be hard, because it was only going to get hotter.

I still managed to keep a steady pace despite my higher heart rate. It got harder from the 26th kilometer though… A lot of runners started walking at this point, so I was constantly struggling to get around these groups. I still had high hopes though. I wanted to beat my record!

But I had to surrender at kilometer 38. I was just too exhausted, and my legs were screaming at me to stop. This was also the time where I realised I would not be running a PR. I basically said “fuck it” and allowed my pace to lower to a shameful 9 km/hr. I eventually jogged accross the finish line, about 4 hours and 4 minutes after starting. I was dissapointed, of course, but it didn’t take long before I brushed it off.

It was an impossible goal for me to run a PR in this weather. It was 25 degrees Celsius when I crossed the finish line…. I spent the rest of the day relaxing. I ordered 2 pizzas and rode a public bike to the Eiffel tower park to sit in the grass with a cold beer. It was absolutely beautiful. My legs were dead, but I felt super relaxed. The Eiffel Tower is really a spectacular sight, especially at sunset.

I’m typing this from the train back to Rotterdam. I feel great, much better than how I felt at the start of this weekend. I hope the stress at work will keep away from me for a while. Let’s see what happens.
Positive factorsRunning, Traveling
Negative factors


The Paris marathon was technically a failure!

I have some good news and some bad news… The good news is that I managed to finish the Paris marathon.

The bad news is that this marathon was technically a failure. That’s because I didn’t manage to beat my previous marathon time. Damn it!

The Paris marathon was the biggest marathon I had ever run. In 2017, there were 57.000 registered runners. Can you believe that?! That’s more than 1 runner for every single meter of the course.

Needless to say, the race was REALLY crowded.


As I jokingly admitted in one of the early articles on this site, I don’t generally do well in crowded areas. I tend to get annoyed easily when I’m cluttered in a tiny space with too much people around me.

Unfortunately, this was the case during the Paris marathon as well. The start was already extremely crowded, but I didn’t think too much of it. I assumed that the density of the runners would decrease over the course of the race. Pretty logical, right?

But it never really did decrease. The roads on which we ran were constantly crowded, and it felt like I had to carefully plan each and every single step I took. I was constantly dodging people left and right, while simultaneously being overtaken by the faster runners. Even worse, the course included a couple of major bottlenecks, which would reduce every runners pace to WALKING. It was an exhausting experience, and something I really did not like!

The temperatures were against me!

In addition to the crowdedness, the weather was also not really supportive of me reaching my goals.

The sun was blazing throughout the entire day. It made a lovely day for the many spectators, but it was pretty terrible for us runners. The temperatures were as high as 25 degrees Celsius by the time I reached the finish line. I was really affected by this, as I felt quite dehydrated during the last couple of kilometers.

I drank 2 cups of water at every single aid station. No exceptions. And yet, I was still loosing all this fluid from sweating like a maniac.

Well… not exactly. I had to stop for 2 small sanitary breaks, for God’s sake! I had never done that before during a marathon, so it felt quite uncomfortable to stop in the middle of my RACE for a number one. It certainly didn’t help me get to the finish faster!

I still finished the Paris marathon!

Despite these negative influences, I still finished the Paris marathon. So even though the marathon could be considered a technical failure, I was still filled with joy from finishing yet another one of these BEASTS.

The Paris Marathon medal 2017
Feeling pretty good about this medal!

I obviously felt really happy after finishing my fourth marathon, despite the disappointing race time. The marathon and the rest of the weekend was a fantastic experience, and just what I needed in the middle of a very busy month!

After the race

After the marathon, I ordered 2 pizzas and took the public bike to the park at the Eiffel Tower. I watched a spectacular sunset while enjoying a beer in the grass. It was a magical ending to a special day.

Did I feel down about not hitting my goal?

Not really, actually! I was just happy to have finished yet another physical (and mental) challenge as big as a marathon!

Still, I knew I had to do better at my second marathon of 2017, though. I had missed one of my yearly goals, yes, but I still felt very motivated to do better at my next marathon!

Running has such a great influence on my happiness. I was never going to drop my head for missing a single target. Hell no, I was already looking forward to my next race! ๐Ÿ™‚

Closing words

And with that, I want to end this post. I hope posts like these help you understand what tracking happiness means to me.

My fourth marathon was the first one in which I really was disappointed in my race result. But I was still extremely happy for even finishing this beast of a race! I knew from past experiences that these marathons were never going to get any easier, but the Paris Marathon was especially hard due to the circumstances. Despite this, I was already looking forward to my next race in 2017!

If this inspires or interests you in any way, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!

Have you finished a marathon before? If so, let me know if your experience was any different from mine! I would love to know! ๐Ÿ™‚


Good days: In the โ€˜Good daysโ€™ post series, I will highlight some of the best days of my life. Not just any days, but the days where I tracked the highest happiness ratings. I will detail some of the journal entries and happiness ratings on specific above-average days. The goal of this series is to show you how exactly I am tracking my happiness. In a best case scenario, it inspires you to determine the added value of tracking happiness and therefore start for yourself.


Hugo Huijer

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

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