an atypical journey between Paris and Versailles inspired by the Women’s March of 1789

“The marathon is a symbolic event of the Games and we wanted to plan a route that made sense. » The Organizing Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) presented on Wednesday October 5th the course of the marathon that will take place on August 10th, 2024 for men and the next day for women. “We were inspired by the women’s march of October 5th and 6th, 1789, explains Aurélie Merle, Director of sports competitions in Paris 2024. This popular, revolutionary and feminine founding event is a link to the values ​​of Paris 2024, where we are putting a special spotlight on women. »

At that time, the capital suffered from a shortage of bread. Thousands of women leaving the Hôtel de Ville in Paris then marched together to Versailles to meet Louis XVI. to express their distress and call for reforms. This will result in the ratification of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and the King’s return to Paris.

“A great challenge for the athletes”

The marathon runners will therefore start from the Hôtel de Ville to the Palace of Versailles before returning to Paris and crossing the finish line at Invalides. “It’s atypical because the routes are usually urban, we stay in the city center and do several loops, which also allows us to identify strategic points.”, reacts Yohan Durand, French marathon runner. During the 42.195 km of the event, the athletes will pass famous places in the capital such as Place Vendôme, Rue de Rivoli, the Louvre and the Trocadéro.

According to Aurélie Merle, the course includes “two great difficulties” : the forest of Fausses-Reposes, home to the Pershing-Lafayette monument – at 183m the highest point of the route – and the famous Côte des Gardes, with a gradient of up to 13.5%, through which the runners run will happen on the way back to Paris. “This descent, long and with high percentages, will be very difficult, warns Yohan Durand, who hopes to qualify for the Olympics. Above all, it arrives after 30km of racing: it will hurt your legs, you have to face muscle pain to keep going to the finish. I went there and it seemed even more impressive than I imagined.”

Atypical, the route is also atypical for its altitude: 438 m of positive ascent and 436 m of negative ascent, ” never seen “, According to him. For comparison, the marathon of Paris has a vertical drop of less than 200 meters and that of Berlin only … 20 meters. ” You need to adjust your preparation and not just train at the level explains Jean-François Pontier, specialized marathon trainer. The Olympics are not about performance anyway, but about place. »

For Alain Blondel, now a former decathlete sports manager of Paris 2024 will be this demanding course “Bring stress because it’s going to be a big challenge for athletes who find themselves in patterns they don’t know”. Especially since it is not tested. “We want it to remain unique, no race is organized on it before the start of the marathon. »

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On this occasion, the organizers of the Olympic Games also submitted their course to the stars of the discipline, which, unsurprisingly, they appreciate. “With its unprecedented profile, the Paris 2024 Marathon represents a major sporting challenge for athletes in a magnificent setting. This race, more uncertain than ever, promises to be legendary! », explains British Paula Radcliffe, who held the women’s world record between 2003 and 2019. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, a two-time Olympic marathon champion and world record-holder for distance (2 hours 1 minute and 9 seconds), believes the event “will inevitably have a special taste”. “I couldn’t have asked for a better race for the games,” he said.

40,048 bibs for the general public

If the route is now known, the security device to be deployed will “to decide how you go” with the relevant authorities. “ We work with the prefectures concerned, who give us the minimum restrictions to be respected, assures Alain Blondel. What is certain is that we will have a fairly significant barrier throughout the course. »

For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the marathon course also welcomes visitors on the weekend of 10./11. August 2024 not only the 80 marathon runners and 80 Olympians, but also twice 20,024 people from the general public. on a date to be determined. “In addition to the ‘Marathon for All’, which will be 99% identical to the Olympic marathon, there will be a 10K run that will pass through certain course points and also finish at the Invalides for the less trained”announces the Cojop.

The most common way to get a bib for either of these two races is by participating in the Club Paris 2024 Challenges. To date, 3,000 bibs have been allocated. “We are proud to offer a course that is suitable for both the general public and Olympic marathoners. We’re truly in the DNA of Paris 2024, with games open to all to share. »

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