Marathon runners on the start line (© Getty Images)
An estimated 31, 500 people will be lining up at the start of the 24th edition of the Paris Marathon, the third biggest marathon in the world behind New York and London, on Sunday 9 April. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Paris Town Hall on Thursday.
Tanzania’s Zededayo Bayo, winner of the Paris Half Marathon, and Foreign Legion member Mohamed Ouaadi, already selected to represent France for Sydney 2000, will be the race favourites as well as Belgium’s Marleen Renders in the women’s race.
The sport director Laurent Boquillet suggested that a faster ‘more rolling’ course is the reason behind the popularity of this year’s marathon, and has given the pacemakers the task of bringing home the victors in two hours and eight minutes, in this event which will also act as qualifier for the French Olympic team 2000.
Not just a sporting competition, the organisers see the marathon as ‘one big party’ and at thirty-five different points along the course, orchestras and music bands will be set up to encourage the runners.