What you need to know:
- The marathon draws around 50,000 participants each year and winds around famous Paris monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame cathedral, starting and finishing at the Arc de Triomphe.
- The prestigious New York, Berlin, Boston and Chicago marathons all fell victim to the global health crisis this year, while those in London and Tokyo were only open to elite runners.
Paris Marathon has again been moved to October 17 next year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the half marathon is scheduled for September 5.
This year’s meeting had been scheduled for April 5 before it was postponed to April 11, 2021 and then to the new date which were announced by organisers Tuesday.
Former London Marathon champion Priscah Jeptoo who had set her sights on the race is among runners who are forced to reorganise their competition schedules.
Jeptoo, who is back from maternity leave, told Nation Sport that she was doind her final training programme when she got news of the cancelled race.
“I had planned to use the Paris Marathon to weigh my fitness after taking a break, but unfortunately the virus scuttled all my plans, and I had to wait. I had hoped that the virus would have been contained quickly, but that hasn’t been possible. We’ll just have to wait for another year,” said Jeptoo who trains in Kapsabet, Nandi County under 2Running Club.
Another runner whose plans were ruined is the 2016 Paris Marathon champion Cyprian Kotut. The athlete, who is under the same management as Jeptoo, had hoped to reclaim the title.
Kotut has been having a long running calf and tendon injury that ruled him out of competition. However, he is now back on his feet and is ready to compete again.
“From all indications, we have to wait to participate in races, but we understand because the virus is a global crisis, although it’s really affecting athletes. I have been out of competition for a long time, I wanted to use the race for my comeback,” said Kotut, who is the younger brother of former star marathoner Martin Lel.
Kotut said the postponement of Paris Marathon affords him time to prepare better so that he can return stronger.
Ethiopian Abrhaw Milaw won the men’s title last year after clocking two hours, seven minutes and five seconds (2:07:050), compatriot Asefa Mengistu was second in 2:07:25 while Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata came third with 2:07:29.
It was a podium sweep for the Ethiopia in the women’s race, Gelete Burka cut the tape in 2:22:47 ahead of Azmera Gebru who timed 2:22:52and Azmera Abreha sealed the podium in 2:23:35.
World Athletics has categorised the annual marathon as a gold label race. Athletes who signed up for the 2020 event will be given the option to compete next year, organisers said.
“Every effort will be made to ensure that the autumn race takes place in safe conditions and strict compliance with the health regulations in force,” Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) said in a statement.
The prestigious New York, Berlin, Boston and Chicago Marathons were all postponed to next year due to Covid-19. However, London and Tokyo marathons were held, and only elite athletes took part.