44th Paris Marathon, October 2021

Scheduled for April 5, 2020, the 44th Paris Marathon was canceled on March 7 due to the outbreak of the corona virus epidemic. Scheduled and canceled on several occasions, the 44th Paris Marathon, a year and a half late, was held on October 17 this year. To participate in the marathon, in addition to the traditional medical certificate of good health, it was necessary to have a sanitary passport as well as a protective mask, without which it was not possible to enter the starting zone on the Champs-Elysees.

Winners in men’s and women’s competition – Rotich (Kenya) and Memuje (Ethiopia)

No surprises – Kenya and Ethiopia

35,000 starting numbers were put on sale, all of which were sold by the beginning of the event. According to unofficial information, slightly more than 30,000 participants crossed the starting line (20 percent were women), which is very far from the number of participants in the previous marathon, in April 2019 (49,155 at the start and 47,495 at the finish), when the Paris Marathon found the second largest in the world, just behind New York (52,000 finishers).

On Sunday, in Foch Avenue, behind the Triumphal Arch, 24,080 participants arrived on Sunday. The number of absences at the start, close to 5,000, corresponds to the usual average of fifteen percent. However, the number of dropouts, about 20 percent, is very high and is probably caused by the large number of participants who went to their first marathon.

In the men’s competition, Eliša Rotič (31 years old), an athlete from Kenya, won, running a marathon in 2x04min21s. He broke the track record set in 2014 by Ethiopian champion Kenenis Bekele (2x05min4s). Rotic was in the lead group from the beginning of the race, and from the 30th kilometer he started to increase the pace, forcing his rivals to increase their speed. The group progressed progressively, and from the 37th kilometer, Rotic led convincingly, and it was clear that he would win this year. Hailemarjam Kiros (Ethiopia) and Hillary Kipsambu (Kenya) placed second and third, about twenty seconds away from Rotich.

In the women’s competition, the Ethiopian Tigist Memuje (2x26min11s) was the first to arrive, followed by two more Ethiopians with a delay of 3 and 10 seconds. Julien Casoli (1x33min17s) won the marathon for the disabled, which is his fourth triumph in Paris.


Vandom Square, 2nd km, when everything seemed possible

Running as an element of power

According to research by biologists and anthropologists, the human body is not the most efficient when lying down, sitting or walking. Its best effect is when running. Then, together with anthropologists and paleontologists, they found that prehistoric man, in the beginning, hunted animals by chasing them and waiting for them to collapse from heat stroke. Namely, most animals have very limited sweating, on small areas of the body, unlike humans, who sweat on the entire surface of the body and thus avoid overheating.

Later, when man mastered the technology, he no longer had to run to exhaust the animals, but hunted them by other means. However, running has acquired another, no less important meaning. It is necessary to mention that running in some civilizations was a key element in maintaining power. Egyptian pharaohs had to, during special public festivals, run certain distances and thus prove that they were vital and capable of ruling.

The Inca Empire, which stretched from Ecuador and Colombia to central Chile, had over ten million inhabitants. News, orders and certain goods were transmitted by runners, organized in a special guild. The king lived in the capital Cusco, and the most distant subjects were at 1,500 km, which his runners crossed in five days, delivering orders, bringing news of riots or enemy incursions into the territory.


Eiffel Tower, 30 km, when the legs begin to become heavy, and the view is focused only on the asphalt

Filipides and Marathon Field

The Greek Olympic Games were organized in honor of the gods and the participants competed in various disciplines, including running. However, with the ancient Greeks, runners not only had a symbolic function, but racing skill was also important in everyday life. They were especially important in conveying military and state messages. The horseman not only could not pass through all the landscapes, but he was also overly visible. The runner-messenger could go unnoticed through difficult trails.

Everyone remembers the name of Filipides, whose name was noted by the Greek historian Herodotus. Themistocles sent him to Sparta to ask them for military assistance in the upcoming war against the Persians. Filipides covered a distance of 245 km in four days, to Sparta and back to Athens, and did the entrusted work. History then turns into a legend and says that, a little later, Filipides brought the Athenians the news of the victory over the Persians on the Marathon field, after which he fell to the ground and died. That part of the story was most likely inserted for the sake of the drama of the event, and it is much more probable that Filipides, an experienced runner, after running about forty kilometers, alive and well, went to the next job.


The goal, 42nd km, when euphoria makes you forget about fatigue and muscle pain

Run and become a better person

Running is also mentioned in the scriptures. In his epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Jews, and Timothy, St. Paul gladly uses runners as a metaphor for striving to reach a goal through effort and endurance. Prince Siddhartha Gautama, before he was given the name Buddha, also practiced running, and according to ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, running was recommended for strengthening the body and maintaining weight. In Japan, on the holy mountain Hijei, lived a line of monks known as marathon monks who had to run a distance greater than the circumference of the Earth in order to purify their consciousness and reach enlightenment.

Today, modern man no longer runs after animals to provide himself with food, which he can easily find in stores. Also, he no longer runs to convey messages that can currently travel around the world. Today’s man runs for pleasure and to maintain optimal psycho-physical form. Also, running has a spiritual dimension. Runners strive to realize themselves as healthy and whole personalities through the construction of their spiritual values. Running teaches them restraint, endurance, modesty, sacrifice, calming passions and fears, overcoming pride, … In a word – overcoming oneself and striving to become a better person.

Therefore, see you next year at one of the marathons: Paris, Athens, Belgrade, to become even better people than we are today.

Source: Balkan Magazin – Aktuelnosti by www.balkanmagazin.net.

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