Competitors at the Paris 2024 Olympics marathon will run from central Paris to Versailles and back, on a course designed to salute women and trace one of the pivotal historic events of the French Revolution. It will also be an unusually challenging route, with 436 metres of altitude gain.
The marathon route unveiled on Wednesday was modelled on the path of the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles – when thousands of mainly female market traders furious over the price of bread, marched to the lavish palace of King Louis XVI. They forced him to return with them to the centre of the capital in an event that historians say ended the absolute power of the monarchy.
“We’re trying to give some meaning to our events and choosing this course was a good way to do it. We want to innovate.” Paris 2024 boss, Tony Estanguet told Reuters.
For the first time, since women began running the Olympic marathon in 1984, women will conclude the athletics programme, with their marathon coming a day after the men’s event.
Organisers have also added two mass events, a marathon and a 10-km run, allowing 20,024 non-Olympians participants to run each course.
“Our country proclaims loud and clear that high-level sport must more than ever, be a source of inspiration for all generations while driving mass participation. Sport has the power to positively transform society: let us give it every means to do so.” French Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.
The marathon course will pass Parisian monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Palais Garnier, the Jardin des Tuileries and several world-famous bridges.
“Beyond a doubt, the Paris 2024 marathon will have something special about it. To perform in such an impressive setting, in a place so charged with history and symbolism, will be a unique experience,” said two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
Kipchoge became only the third man to win back-to-back Olympic marathon crowns at the Tokyo Games last year but the 37-year-old Kenyan said he wants the record all to himself and will go for gold once again at Paris 2024.
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