THE THIRTY-SIXTH PARIS MARATHON took place earlier today. More than forty thousand runners from over one hundred countries competed over the 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometres) course from the Champs-Elysées to avenue Foch via the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne.
The Paris Marathon is one of the five biggest marathons in the world (along with New-York, London, Berlin and Chicago), not only in terms of the size of the field but also by the performances achieved.
I went along to watch the finish in the Avenue Foch. I emerged from Porte Dauphine Metro station just in time to see the Kenyan runner, Stanley Biwott, surge past to win the men’s race in a record time of 2hrs 05 min 12 sec beating the previous record by thirty-six seconds.
Biwott attacked at the 30km mark and came home more than a minute ahead of Ethiopian duo Raji Assefa and Sisay Jisa.
In the women’s race Tirfi Beyene came first in a new record time of 2hrs 21min 39sec.
Although I saw but couldn’t photograph Beyene on the home stretch, I did capture Turkey’s Sultan Haydar who finished second in 2hr 25:09.
The Paris Marathon is a serious and gruelling athletics event, but for the crowd it is also a festive occasion with an atmosphere to match.
This was the first time that I’ve seen the Paris Marathon, or any marathon for that matter, and I was very impressed by the performance of the ‘elite’ women runners. No doubt we shall be seeing them and their male colleagues in the London Olympic Marathon later this year.
Away from the finish line into the Bois de Boulogne I found some more ‘atmosphere’ that was certainly encouraging both the runners and the crowd.
Adding more atmosphere:
Whether an ‘elite’ runner or an enthusiastic amateur, I’m sure that any sort of encouragement is more than welcome as the 42 kilometre mark comes into view!