15/04/2007 - 31st International Paris Marathon: On with the show!
With ideal weather -whereas a bit hot for running- and an atmosphere as festive as ever, 28,261 competitors were present at the start of the 31st Paris International Marathon on the Champs-Elysées. The last of the runners were crossing the start line while the leaders were already at Place de la Nation...
Throughout the race, from the Bastille to the Seine banks and through the Boulogne wood, almost 250,000 persons lined the roads to encourage the competitors and enjoy the 70 festive musical events put on in the streets of the capital.
The elite race produced two new winners: Mubarak Shami from Qatar (2:07:19) and Ethiopian Tafa Magarsa (2:25:07). On the French side, let us mention the wonderful third position of Christelle Daunay: a great achievement for her first Marathon. With a 2:28:54 pit on the 42,195km-course, she qualifies for the next World Championships which will take place in Osaka next August.
In the men's race, a 10-athlete group escaped after a few kilometres. At the 21-km mark, Spaniard Julio Rey was dropped, 30'' behind the last four contenders (Melese, Shami, Merga et Limo). At the Km-29 mark, Shami and Merga were leading the race, having escaped form the group. At the Km-33 mark, Mubarak Shami's clean attacked was devastating for Merga, who participated today in his first Marathon (he finally finished 11th!). 27 year-old Shami Mubarak wins in Paris for the very first time, one month after his 7th place at the Cross Worlds in Mombassa. Despite the unusual heat, his performance is astonishing: 2:07:19.
Last year winner, the Ethiopian Melese, finishes second, completing the course in 2:09:53. Kenyan Rono climbs on the podium (2:10:28). Amhed Ezzobayry is the best French runner, finishing eighth (2:11:18); his fellow countryman and new-comer Brahim Lalhafi finishes 13th (2:15:09).
In the women's race, Ethiopian champion Tafa Magarsa led the Marathon from the start to the finish (2:25:07), keeping a three-minute advantage on Russian Vigovkaya, who ran with discernment (2:28:22). French Christelle Daunay climbs on the podium (2:28:54), having succeeded in following the Russian athlete's pace.
14/04/2007 - 31th Paris Marathon tomorrow: 35 200 starters
The start of the 31th International Paris Marathon will be given at 8:45 PM (8:35 PM for the handisport race) on the Champs-Elysées by Sports Minister, Jean-François Lamour and Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë
Joël Lainé, event director, deliberately wanted to limit the number of starters to 35 200 for the comfort of all. The inscriptions were closed since mid-november.
Among the participants are 16,4% of women. 90 nationalities are represented by more almost 10 000.
For the 200 000 fans expected in the streets of the capital, 70 festive and musical stands will be organised all along the race course with several podiums set up at the Porte de Charenton, the 12th district City-Hall, Boulevard Henri IV, the Trocadéro, Place de Bolivie, Porte d'Auteuil...
This morning, the Breakfast Race was organised and started in front of the Unesco building. 5 000 runners took off for an enjoyable 5.2 kilometre effort in order to prepare for the big day.
From a purely sporting point of view, an tough battle will be fought out among top-flight runners. The Ethiopian Gashaw Melese, winner in 2006 will try to keep his title against French Driss El Himer (2h06'48) and Spanish Julio Rey (2h06'52).
In the women's race, the French runner Zaia Dahmani, 4th in the Paris Marathon in 2001 will be present, competing alongside the usual African, Russian and Romanian athletes.
For the 31st Paris Marathon (Sunday 15th April) the 10th edition of Marathon Expo was launched this afternoon at the Exhibition Centre in Paris - Porte de Versailles (Hall 5). More than 60 000 visitors are expected.