A decade of racing for sustainability: #SEGreenRunners share their stories and Paris Marathon tips

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The Paris Marathon is just around the corner, and it’s a very exciting year for us! We’re marking our 10th year as the title sponsor of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, and a record 6,500 #SEGreenRunners from 55 countries are expected to participate in the marathon.  

To celebrate these milestones, we’re looking back at participants’ experiences over the past years. Hear from Violette Lin, Thought Leadership Research and Partnerships Leader, Energy Management at Schneider Electric, and Romain Lieux, from EMC2, Nordine, who was the first-place finisher from the Schneider team in the 2021 Paris Marathon.

Violette Lin will be competing in her 3rd Paris Marathon this year. Surprisingly, she wasn’t always an athletic person – during her school days, she nearly fainted from running 400 meters. She began running in 2015 as an exchange student and gradually improved her endurance and resilience until she began competing in running events.

One of our #SEGreenRunners Violette Lin will be participating in her 4th Paris Marathon this year and shares her Paris Marathon tips.
Violette Lin, Thought Leadership Research and Partnerships Leader, Energy Management at Schneider Electric

In contrast, Romain Lieux began running from a young age – he started training as a middle-distance runner at the age of seven and was a triathlete for over 15 years. After becoming a first-time father in 2014, he started focusing on marathons because it was more compatible with his personal and professional schedules.

One of our #SEGreenRunners, Romain Lieux, shares his story and his Paris Marathon tips.
Romain Lieux, EMC2, Nordine, and first-place finisher from the Schneider team in the 2021 Paris Marathon

With their different backgrounds, these #SEGreenRunners share their unique stories and Paris Marathon tips for runners who are looking to perform their best on the big day.

What was it like to run the Paris Marathon?

Violette Lin: In 2020, I turned 30. I wanted to celebrate this little milestone of my life by breaking the 30 KM ‘wall’, and keep going until the finish line. Although I had to delay my plans by a year because of the Covid outbreak, the experience of running the 2021 Paris Marathon was quite inspiring.  During the race I saw people from all walks of life, which gave me a lot of positive energy and emotions.

Romain Lieux: It was an unforgettable moment, and it was great to see so many people running this marathon and staying active to achieve their goals. Even when you are trying to achieve your best time, you can’t help but admire the monuments as you run by them on your route.

A Paris Marathon tip - you can't help but admire the monuments as you run by them on your route, so join the #SEGreenRunners community today.
The route passes through some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks

There are some kilometers where you feel euphoric, but there are also some kilometers where everything becomes very tough.

What mindset is needed to take up running as a sport? Can you share some mental preparation tips for Paris Marathon?

VL: Like physical preparation, mental preparation comes gradually. You gain confidence over time by setting and achieving milestones. On top of that, you’ll need external inspiration to guide you and offer you extra passion for the run.

For me, the actual race is not the most challenging part. That’s the easy one: everyone is cheering you on, and you’re surrounded by positive energy. Of course, there are times when you feel tired and want to give up, but to me, the marathon is the easy part.

The difficult part is going through the training. It’s a long-term commitment. There’ll be times where you’ll feel like you don’t want to run anymore – and that’s the tricky part. You need to get out of your comfort zone and find the time and the resources for training – you’ll only succeed if you took it seriously. 

RL: I build up confidence from training throughout the year, as I improve on my time during my preparation sessions. These sessions also give me strength to overcome the hard moments during the race – recalling what I went through and my progress during these sessions helps me stay resilient.

Tell us about your lifestyle – what are some dietary advice for Paris Marathon?

VL: I am trying to live greener where I can. I reduced my meat consumption, balancing it with whole grains, lean protein, vegetables and fruits. I felt healthier and my body felt lighter as a result.

For my first marathon I didn’t pay attention to my diet or adjust my lifestyle for the event. I was travelling close to the start of the marathon, working overtime, and drinking. Obviously, that ended painfully and was a hard lesson for my future races.  

How do you put sustainable running into practice?

RL: From participating in the Paris Marathon, I could see concrete measures taken to further environmental and social sustainable development. It’s a pleasure to know that I can practice my hobby freely while having a completely neutral carbon footprint!

VL: I’m passionate about living a more sustainable life, and running is one way that I put it into practice.

Being part of the #SEGreenRunners community can help you meet others around the world who can share advice on living a sustainable life.

And the community is open to everybody. It’s not just for marathon runners, or Schneider runners. It’s for every person in the world interested in sports, sustainability, and a greener lifestyle. From sharing photos of my sustainable running routine with my community and friends, I already got a few people curious to know more about the #SEGreenRunners initiative.

What are your top tips for first-time Paris Marathon runners?

RL: If you want to be fast in the marathon, you have to be fast in shorter distances.

VL: First, take your training commitment seriously. There are different training programs, including those published on the official Paris Marathon website.

Combine your interval training with a longer endurance training during the weekend.

It’s also good to have a running buddy to train with – this can keep you motivated. As we get closer to my next Paris Marathon on April 2, 2023, my time management has been improved thanks to my personal coach, a 2.5-year-old Shiba Inu that made some of my weekly runs more enjoyable.

Violette Lin's 2.5-year old Shiba Inu runs with her to make her training more enjoyable.
Violette Lin trains with her Shiba Inu to make her weekly runs more enjoyable

Last tip: whether you are already preparing or hesitating to run your first marathon, come to the see and cheer for us. It can motivate you more than you could ever expect. Allez, allez!

Join us for the Paris Marathon!

We hope you’re inspired and energized for this year’s Paris Marathon on April 2, 2023! Keep yourself updated on the race and connect with fellow runners by joining the #SEGreenRunners community on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

About the author

Author Profile

Patricia Ricafort, Communications Channels Specialist

Patricia is a Communications Channels Specialist for blogs and podcasts. She joined Schneider Electric in 2021 as a Global Marketing Graduate Trainee. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Patricia holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Communications from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games, cooking, and cycling.

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