For the past couple of years, I have fancied myself a runner, partly because running is cheap and partly because there are so many ridiculous events to partake in. I've done the Color Run twice, I did my first 10k dressed in a Santa Claus costume, and I plan on "running" a wine marathon dressed as a fairy tale or legend in September. So when I heard about the so-called Bubble Run taking place north of Paris there was little doubt I would have to attend.
Exposition... It was apparently the first time this event would be happening in my fair city. It was to be a 5k, with various stops and an abundance of bubbles. From the pictures on line, it looked a bit like a Winter Wonderland but since it was taking place in mid-June I hoped for better weather (not that we have had much of a summer so far!). The fact that it was its premier commencement, however, was made painfully obvious when I went to pick up my bib and those of the others in my group. Though I arrived 15 minutes early on a Friday afternoon on the very first day of registration, there was a line out the door already waiting. If this had been the Color Run, there should have been no cause for concern. But since they ultimately had only two people processing participants, most of which had numerous bibs to pick up, it ended up taking over an hour to get our swag. Fortunately, I had recruited various friends and the motley crew we finally got together turned into a truly fun group to run with.
We all took the RER and met at a park north of Paris on the day in question. I had never been to this area of the banlieue, but I was very impressed with the greenery we walked by. At first glance, the staging area seemed sort of disorganized but we finally made our way in without a problem. Most of my friends checked their bags in the designated area (foreshadowing!) but I had done other runs and knew it was safer to keep my small bag on hand. The only downside of this plan was that it absolutely impeded my pace, since the backpack kept whacking me on the back as I jogged along.
After a tour of the cascading bubbles shooting out of various founts, we were finally ready to begin. Now, as I stated previously, the park was really adorable, filled with trees and greenery galore. The facts that I had gone out drinking the night before and my allergies have been on par with the plague the past few months, however, definitely took their toll. Despite our sporadic pauses to run through avalanches of foam, I was not having an easy time of it. At one point I had to stop and use my inhaler and I definitely needed to walk far more than normal. I was also highly misled because I kept expecting some bubbly phenomenon to occur every kilometer when in reality it was definitely not the case.
Still, by the end of the route I was happy I had come. We wafted through an ocean of bubbles as foam rained down from above. Very soapy, very wet, but also very fun. When we had finally had our fill of froth, we rounded up and got in line to collect our checked bags.
Climax! We waited in line for....EVER. The mind-boggling disorganization mystifies me to this very day. They had apparently collected bags so quickly and thrown them into shelves of each one THOUSAND that they were complete mayhem to retrieve. Two of our group, good samaritans that they were, made their way to the front of a massively haphazard line as the real rain began to fall. The other two shared my tiny umbrella in the distance as we waited... and waited... and waited. At long last, our friends began calling and texting because they were able to regain their own bags but the other two were MIA. In the end, they had to climb into the storage area themselves and found that one bag was placed in the completely wrong group of numbers and was impossible to distinguish without the eye of the owner.
Denouement... As the clouds disappeared, we sauntered out of the park, soggy and definitively worse for wear. It took us three attempts to find a restaurant that could seat us at which point we were finally able to sit, have a cocktail, and fill our ravenous tummies. Final critique? It was a worthy venture filled with promise, but whoa pony those witches gotta get their sh@#$t together.