from the Paris City Hall to the Palace of Versailles and Les Invalides… The route of the Olympic Games marathon unveiled

His journey will probably go down in history. The Paris 2024 Olympic Games Marathon, taking place on August 10th and 11th, 2024, will follow a Paris-Versailles route back and forth, the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (Cojo) announced on Wednesday 5 October. “This unique course will be spectacular and challenging”, rejoiced the cojo. “On will combine the history of sport with part of the history of France”, adds Alain Blondel, designer of a route that will visit the most famous monuments of Paris and its western suburbs.

Departure is from the Paris City Hall for a journey start in the heart of the most beautiful monuments of the capital. The marathon runners pass through the Rue de Rivoli, then that of the Louvre to get to the Place de la Bourse and then go around the Opéra Garnier. You must then take Rue de la Paix to reach Place Vendôme before crossing the Louvre at the level of the carousel and its pyramid. The 160 athletes at the start (80 men, 80 women) then take the quays of the Seine, pass under the Pont de la Concorde and the Pont de l’Alma and reach the Trocadéro from above with a first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The route takes you to Boulogne-Billancourt after passing the Porte de Saint-Cloud. After the bridge and the town hall of Sèvres, things get more complex.

A 4km climb at Ville-d’Avray takes runners to a height of 183 metres, the highest point of the race, before descending some 1km to the Palace of Versailles. At this historical point and after 23 km of racing, the marathon runners take the Avenue de Paris with the castle in the background.

From there you have to go through the towns of Viroflay and Chaville. Then an additional difficulty awaits the athletes: the participants have to climb the Pavé des Gardes for 900 meters with a maximum gradient of 13.5%. At kilometer 30, the athletes attack the descent, “with a very delicate passage at 13.4% to reach Issy-les-Moulineaux at the 32nd kilometer”, points to Alain Blondel, the athletics and para-athletics manager in Paris 2024 and at the origin of the track.

The Paris Games 2024 marathon route starts at Paris City Hall and ends at the Esplanade des Invalides.  (Paris 2024)

For the remaining 10km, athletes will take the direction of the Iron Lady before joining Avenue du Bourdonnay, Avenue de Breteuil and the Avenue de Breteuil roundabout before starting the last line on the right of this route towards Les Invalides. The finish will be from the south on the Esplanade des Invalides in front of 7,000 to 7,500 spectators.

“The strategic and technical management of this course will be a completely different challenge than what athletes and coaches are currently experiencing. They will be presented with a difficulty they have never faced before.”

Alain Blondel, Athletics and Para-Athletics Manager at Paris 2024

at franceinfo: sport

“It’s a course that we fully embrace, adds Alain Blondel. We came out of the classic marathon context with a time and a world record. The Olympic gold medalist and the champion may not be the fastest, but they will be the strongest because there will be very delicate sequences and it will be a challenge to prepare.”

The President of the Organizing Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Tony Estanguet, emphasizes the importance of the women's marathon, which will be the last Olympic event of these Games, but also the historical and symbolic importance of the marathon route.

This course was particularly praised by Paula Radcliffe, holder of the women’s world record between 2003 and 2019: “With its unique profile, the Marathon Paris 2024 represents a great sporting challenge for athletes in a magnificent setting. This race, more uncertain than ever, promises to become legendary.” A “mythical” course that the general public can also try through the marathon for everyone, open to the general public and aimed at able-bodied and disabled.

“I think this course will go down in Olympic history,” assures Alain Blondel at the origin of a route not chosen by chance. “We wanted a course with something more that tells a story and makes sense”, comments Aurélie Merle, head of the Paris 2024 sports competitions.

With this in mind, the organizers looked to the history of France for inspiration. “The route is inspired by one of the founding elements of our history, the Women’s March, which took place on October 5th and 6th, 1789”, explains Aurélie Merle. On these days, merchants, shopkeepers and workers from working-class suburbs gather outside the Hôtel de Ville in Paris to demand bread while food shortages ravage the capital. Between 6,000 and 7,000 Parisian women, together with men, pass through Paris to go to Versailles to demand bread and reforms from the king and urge him to return to Paris. On this day, Louis XVI agreed. to ratify the Universal Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights. October 5th and 6th, 1789 belong to the “great days” of the French Revolution.

“This revolutionary, popular and feminist march is in line with the vision of Paris 2024, where we want revolutionary games.”

Aurélie Merle, director of sports competitions in Paris 2024

at franceinfo: sport

“Putting the spotlight on women has been part of Paris 2024’s DNA from the start, notably through our emblem (the Marianne) or through organizing the first Joint Games in history,” continues Aurélie Merle. In addition, the organizers decided in the same logic with the consent of World Athletics (the International Athletics Federation), the women’s marathon, on the Olympic program since 1984, the track and field event concludes on the last Sunday of the Games. The Olympics final podium during the Closing Ceremony will therefore be a first in honor of the marathon runners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *