43,537 runners took part in the 42nd edition of the Marathon de Paris on Sunday 8th April. This colourful community was made up of 26% women, 32% foreign runners (from 115 nations) and 36% of newcomers to the distance, which wound through the world’ most beautiful city in spring-like weather conditions.
There was a wonderful surprise for the finishers after more than 6 hours of running with heavy legs: they were welcomed and congratulated by the winners of the race, Betsy Saina and Paul Lonyangata, a genuine symbol of fraternity!
The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in figures:
55,000 registered participants, 43,537 starters
26% women/ 74% men
Average age: 41 years old
36% of runners are newcomers to the distance
97% OF STARTERS CROSSED THE FINISHING LINE
32% from abroad: 115 nations represented
189 countries and 34 television channels broadcast the images of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris.
In France, the official broadcaster was France Télévisions and the francevsport web site and applications carried
out digital broadcasting.
A double for Paul Lonyangata
Last year, Paul and Purity wrote one of the nicest love stories in the history of sport, by both winning in their respective categories of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris. Although his wife was unable to race this year due to illness, it did not stop Paul Lonyangata from claiming victory once again. Always well placed at the front of the race, the Kenyan participated in a cull that progressively whittled down the competition. It was a minor miracle given that after 16 kilometres, Lonyangata tripped, slightly cutting his right hand and elbow as well as his left knee… before catching up with the pace of the frontrunners. The only runners to resist his amazing poise were his two countrymen, Mathew Kisorio and Ernest Ngeno. From the 35-kilometre point onwards, there was no doubt that victory would be contested by the three Kenyans. Paul Lonyangata was first to cross the finishing line with a time of 2:06’25’’, 11 seconds ahead of Kisorio and 16 in front of Ngeno.
Few competitors in the history of the Paris Marathon have crossed the finishing line twice as winners. In the 1980’s, there were two non-consecutive triumphs for both Jacky Boxberger (in 1983 and 1985) and Ahmed Salah (in 1984 and 1986), as well as British runner Steve Brace, the only competitor to have won twice consecutively until today. Paul Lonyangata, who has promised to return to Paris next year, has already claimed a significant place in the history of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris.
A surprise victory for Betsy Saina
But for a few hundred metres, Kenyan Betsy Saina could have reached the finishing line before everybody else, including Paul Lonyangata. Having started 16 minutes and 26 seconds before the men, in order to provide equal visibility to both winners, the women’s field kept raising the bar for the men for a considerable amount of the race. It has to be said that the battle between the six women who were still together after 33 km was a tough one. It was at that instant that, tucked in at the back of the group, race favourite Amane Gobena paid a heavy price for a small lack of attention which saw her bang her right thigh against the corner of one of the refreshment point tables. Handicapped by a dead leg, the Ethiopian was forced to exit the race, leaving Betsy Saina to win with a time of 2:22’56’’, three seconds in front of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and 12 ahead of Ethiopian Gulume Chala. The surprise was that Betsy Saina, 5th in the 10,000 m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and winner of a half-marathon with a time of 69’17’’, had never before completed a marathon.
Jean-Damascène Habarurena finished 17th on the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris as the first French runner. In the reckoning for qualification for the European Championships, Habarurena did not manage to beat the time he was aiming for, but his honorary place as first French finisher could still comfort his continental ambitions. With a time of 2:15’13’’, the runner from Entente Angevine Athlétisme finished one second ahead of Aix Athlé Provence’s Nicolas Navarro.
The para-sports race witnessed a brand new winner. Japanese competitor Hiroki Nishida claimed the first international victory of his career with a time of 1:30’02’’, in front of multiple Olympic Champion David Weir (1:30’52'') and Spaniard Jorge Madera Jimenez (1:30’53’’). Frenchman Julien Casoli finished in 4th position.
1) Betsy SAINA (KEN) – 2h22’56
2) Ruth CHEPNGETICH (KEN) – 2h22’59
3) Gulume CHALA (ETH) – 2h23’06
1) Paul LONYANGATA (KEN) – 2h06’25
2) Mathew KISORIA (KEN) – 2h06’36
3) Ernest NGENO (KEN) – 2h06’41
1) Hiroki NISHIDA (JPN) – 1h30’02
2) David WEIR (GBR) – 1h30’52
3) Jorge MADERA JIMENEZ (ESP) – 1h30’53