DL's Rotondo completes famous Paris Marathon
Earlier this month, Deer Lakes High School French teacher Desiree Rotondo was among 42,000 runners able to overcome sweltering 78 degree temperatures and a grueling 26.2 mile course to complete the world-famous Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris.
Rotondo was among 2,200 runners worldwide selected to compete in the race though its initial lottery held a week after last year's event. In total, 50,000 runners participated in this year’s marathon, which wound through the legendary “City of Lights,” beginning on the famous Champs-Elysees and finishing at the equally iconic Arc de Triomphe.
Along the way, Rotondo also ran along the River Seine, passing by Notre Dame Cathedral and eventually the Eiffel Tower. Other well-known landmarks during the race included: Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Ville, Place de la Bastille, Chateau de Vincennes, and Bois de Boulogne, the famous Parisian park on the western edge of the city.
“I obviously have a passion for France,” said Rotondo, who has chaperoned Deer Lakes student trips to that country for the past two decades. “I saw this as a potentially wonderful experience for me and one that I may be able to share with my students.”
The Paris event was Rotondo’s sixth full marathon (26.2 miles/42,197 Kilometers) but her first international race. Her previous marathons and challenges have included: the 2015 New York City Marathon, the Disney World Marathon and The Goofy Challenge, which requires runners to run a 13.1 Half Marathon on Saturday and a full 26.2 mile Marathon on Sunday.
Rotondo also ran a Dopey Challenge to honor her mother, who died of ALS. In that race, Rotondo ran for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of ALS and raised more than $6,200 for ALS Research. In the Dopey Challenge in which Rotondo competed, runners were required to run for four consecutive days – a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday – for a total of 48.6 miles.
Rotondo loves running and says her inspiration to run comes from those who can’t due to illness, disabilities, and other factors. After having such an enjoyable experience in Paris, Rotondo is now contemplating a new, broader ambition. “Who knows? I may eventually run a marathon on every continent,” she said.