The legendary Greek marathon had a counterpart in Paris on Sunday (24 June) when more than six thousand runners raced around a twenty six mile (42-kilometre) course in the city.
The legendary Greek marathon had a counterpart in Paris on Sunday (24 June) when more than six thousand runners raced around a twenty six mile (42-kilometre) course in the city. The runners started at the Hotel de Ville, led by Paris Mayor Jacques Chirao, circled through and around the city and finished back at their starting point. There was also an official half-way finished for those who lacked stamina. The winner was no surprise. Five times marathon campion of France, Fernand Kolbeck of Alsace, closed the course in two hours and eighteen seconds.
SYNOPSIS: The fashion for marathons of this dimension has been growing in the United States and now Paris has burst forth with this bigger than ever race. It replaces the ten-year-old Bois de Bologne race.
The race started at five in the afternoon and was open to amateurs and professionals alike, including veterans, seniors and juniors.
Traffic throughout the race areas was stopped for seven hours, beginning two hours before the start. In several city areas of the race, the spectators were entertained by dancing, music, trapeze acts, water games and the like.
An estimated half-million lined the routes and joined in the special activities. Fifteen hundred policemen controlled the crowds, especially at the three hundred and sixty intersections the route passed. To ease conditions for the runners, roads were hosed down and first-aid stations set up at each kilometre of the route.
Sideline sports activities too were the order of the day. Everything from a basketball match in the first arrondissement to acrobatic skiers in the fifth, plus hurdle races, fishing competitions and of course the French pastime, bowling. More than two hundred women entered the race, but none finished early.
The favourite to win, Fernand Kolbeck, pulled well ahead of the pack when he reached the final few kilometres of the race.
For his victory, Kolbeck and the next five finishers received a cup donated by Mayor Chirac. Everyone else who completed the race received a diploma and a medal from the same benefactor.