How the Paris Marathon Works

Paris Marathon Entry

If you want to run the Paris Marathon, you'll need to register early. Despite having 40,000 available spots, the race reaches capacity well before the registration deadline approaches. Early registration allows runners to save a few euros: The process begins in mid-September, and registration costs 55 euros (about $70) until October 20, after which the entry fee jumps to 70 euros ($89). After the end of November, you'll need 85 euros ($108). Registration closes in mid-January. Don't count on paying the maximum amount, though, as the race generally fills up before the November price hike.

When you register, your proficiency as a runner determines your bib color, which represents your placement at the starting line. As with all races, priority is given to the fastest runners, so Paris applicants choose among six colors, or start zones. The first two zones, red and yellow, require proof of a qualifying run time from a race held in the previous two years. In order to qualify for a red or yellow bib, your finish times must be between 3:00 hours and 3:15, respectively. From there, runners can vouch for themselves -- without proof -- to start in the blue, purple, green and pink zones, which run from 3:15 to 4:30 and over.

One other aspect of registration that makes Paris unique among its international marathon counterparts is the requirement of medical clearance from a doctor. The form certifies that you're fit to run the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) course without being a medical liability. The clearance form is available on the official Paris Marathon Web site, and when you complete registration, it's matched to your bib number.

Everyone knows that Paris is a beautiful city, so keep reading to find out what you'll see on the Paris Marathon route.