Paris Marathon History
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The marathon is growing especially from the 1970s with the creation of trialmass mixing amateurs and professionals. The best known are the marathons in New York and Paris, created in their present form of mass events in 1976.
The first Paris Marathon took place in 1896. In its modern form, Paris Marathon started in 1976 and now sees participation of around 40,000 runners every year.
1896: THE FIRST PARIS MARATHON
On Sunday the 19th of July 1896, there was a big crowd at porte Maillot for the first French marathon, which brought together 191 participants. For this first French marathon, run over the 40 km separating Paris from Conflans, the organisers, the Petit Journal, decided to award a commemorative medal to all runners who finished the race in under 4 hours. Why 40 kilometres? Simply because this was the distance separating Marathon from Athens; the current distance of the competition (42,195 km) is simply that of the London Olympic marathon (1908).
After a 2h31’30” race, and cheered on by 2.000 spectators, the British man Len Hurst crossed the finishing line traced out on the Conflans bridge. After a brief moment in the arms of his coach Boon, he regained all his strength in order to receive the 200 francs from the Petit Journal.