The route of the 2024 Olympic marathon will pass through Versailles and promises to be rich in symbols

Open to amateurs and inspired by the Women’s March of 1789, the marathon of the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 carries many symbols, according to the organizers who revealed this Wednesday, October 5 a demanding course which will pass in front of the Palace of Versailles.

“The marathon occupies a special place, which connects us to the Ancient Games, we wanted to make it a highlight of the Olympic Games”said ex-table tennis player Jean-Philippe Gatien, sports director of the Paris 2024 Olympics Organizing Committee (Cojo).

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The route, which gives pride of place to the west of the Ile-de-France region, is completely different from the Paris marathon contested each year.

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After leaving from the Hôtel de Ville in Paris and several kilometers along the banks of the Seine, the route will cross the Hauts-de-Seine department (Boulogne-Billancourt, Sèvres, Ville-d’Avray) to the Château de Versailles (Yvelines). The runners will then pass through the Hauts-de-Seine (Viroflay, Chaville, Meudon, Issy-les-Moulineaux) to find the Seine and Paris until they reach the Esplanade des Invalides.

A symbolic and historical route

The organizers explain that they were inspired by the “women’s march” of October 1789, an event of the French Revolution, when several thousand Parisian women marched on Versailles and King Louis XVI from the Hôtel de Ville, in a context of famine. Under pressure, the monarch ended up ratifying the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

“We wanted to connect this marker of the Games to a major challenge of the time, equality between women and men”said during a press conference in Paris the president of the organizing committee Tony Estanguet.

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The women’s Olympic marathon will thus be honored at the very end of the athletics program, a few hours before the closing ceremony of the Games, in the usual place of the men’s race. Another symbol when women only had access to the Olympic marathon from 1984 in Los Angeles, after a fight by a few pioneers for access to long-distance races.

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From a sporting point of view, the course, demanding, will “break the codes but above all break the legs”launched with humor the specialist of the France team Yohan Durand.

With an elevation gain of 438 m, greater than most major current marathons, it should be impossible for the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who will be aiming for a 3rd consecutive Olympic title in Paris, to improve on the world record he carried. at 2:1:9 a.m. ten days ago in Berlin.

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Several climbs will make life difficult for runners, in addition to descents with some steep and technical passages. The route follows, for example, in the direction descending the Côte des Gardes in Meudon, dreaded by regulars of the popular Paris-Versailles race.

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This unique itinerary will be of interest to champions but also to amateurs, who will be entitled during the Games to the “marathon for all”. As announced for several months, a race of 42.195 km and another of 10 km will be offered by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games: approximately 3,000 bibs have already been allocated out of more than 40,000 (20,024 participants per race).

Already surrounded by security issues, the organizing committee does not envisage any other popular mass event during the Olympics despite “many requests”but is considering a cycling event during the Paralympic Games.

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