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Report Paris Marathon, 7 April 2002

Paris Marathon

Paris Marathon

Sunday, 7 April, was one of the first dates on the European Spring marathon calendar. For some reason this race fails to attract the big marathon names, even though this race is a fast flat course, the marathon greats prefer London and Rotterdam. This could be something to do with the fact that even though the race attracted some 30000 participants this year, there is not much crowd support from Parisiens, who simply prefer to spend Sunday morning lazing in bed and watching the race on their television screens.

This race has come a long way however in terms of organisation. In 1990 this race lagged behind the other well established City Marathons, with only 7000 participants. In those days just 20 minutes before the set-off of the race the start banner was still being put up so that runners not familiar with the race were not sure which way to line up on the Champs Elysees.

Today, the race is well established and it is the only day in the year where you can past the historic French sites, as the banks of the Seine and Champs Elysees are closed off to traffic. It is a pity though that with a registration fee of over 50 Euros, for that you get barbie doll sized sponges and a very poor quality t-shirt.

This year the race had windy cool weather so that those who made a conservative start could profit from the strong tail wind from the 14km mark to the finish. The Blue, white and red supporters who did turn out could be well proud as this race was won by the fambouyant Frenchman Benoit Zwierzchlewski in 2:08:18, who dons a dragon on this thigh, better known as Benoit Z. The women’s race was easily won by Marlene Renders the Belgian woman in 2:23 by a large margin.

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