Participants, key dates, French winners … The four things to know about the Paris marathon

He is making his comeback after a year of absence. Postponed twice before being canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the 44th edition of the Paris marathon takes place on Sunday, October 17. Here are the four things to know before the start of the race, broadcast live and in full from 8:40 am on France 3.

An extraordinary marathon

Paris is the second biggest marathon in the world in terms of finishers, after New York (48,073 finishers against 53,640 in the American metropolis in 2019). The number of registrants continues to increase over the years: in 2020, the organization had registered 65,000, a record for the event in the French capital. Among them, more than a third of the participants (35%) are neo-marathoners, estimated in the spring Édouard Cassignol, boss of the race.

First edition in 1896

If Paris hosted its first marathon in 1896, the race has only been annual since 1976. Until 2020, the event had only been canceled, in 1991, due to the Gulf War.

The Paris Marathon, initially reserved for men, has opened up to other participants over the years: first to women in 1979, then to wheelchair runners the following year.

A route exclusively in the city center

During the first edition, in 1976, the 42.195 km were run only in the Bois de Boulogne. Since 2005, the marathon has taken place exclusively on the right bank of Paris and in the city center. For this 44th edition, the route remains the same as that planned for 2020: the runners will start from the Arc de Triomphe before descending the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. They will also pass emblems of the capital such as the Opéra Garnier, Notre-Dame Cathedral or the Eiffel Tower, before finishing the Porte Dauphine race.

14 French winners

Although the French represent the majority of participants in this marathon (67% in 2019), among men, only nine different runners won over 10 races, Jacky Boxberger having won it twice (in 1983 and 1985). Last French victory to date: that of Benoît Zwierzchiewski in 2003. In the ladies, only four French Tricolors managed to cross the line first. The last female victory to date dates back to 1986 and is attributed to Maria Rebelo.