On Sunday, April 15th 2012, some 40,000 runners from around the world lined up to compete against each other, themselves and the elements, in the 36th annual Paris Marathon. The chilling temperatures and unforgiving wind were no match for Kenyan Stanley Biwott, who brought home the men’s title with a new marathon record of 2h05:11.
Ethiopian and Kenyan competitors dominated the men’s top ten, with Ethiopians Raji Assefa and Sisay Jisa sprinting in the final stretch for second and third place, at 2h06:24 and 2h06:27, respectively.
In the women’s division, Ethiopian Tirfi Beyene grabbed the women’s title with a record time of 2h21:40. Beyene just missed the minimum requirement of 2h20 to qualify for the Olympic Games in London this summer.
In second place was Sultan Haydar, Ethiopian-born but representing Turkey, with a time of 2h25:09. Makda Harun of Ethiopia nabbed third at 2h26:46.
While runners (and fans) showed up from around the world to participate in Sunday’s race, the hometown hero had to be Frenchman Benjamin Malaty. The Bordeaux native, 25, finished in 19th place with a time of 2h13:15, in his first-ever marathon.
Malaty told the AFP news agency nothing but good things following the race, where he was France’s top finisher.
“It’s great. There are only positive things to say. I knew I could do this. Now, for the next marathons, I’m hoping to finish in 2h10.”
While many runners have complained of bottlenecks and overcrowding during the Paris marathon, most agree that the view on the course is simply unbeatable. The 42,195 km (26.2 miles) loop around Paris, sidling up to most of the major sights of the city, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Vincennes park. Each participant, regardless of their time, receives a medal for a job well done.
Interested in running the marathon next year? Visit this page for more information, or to sign up for next year’s race.
See next page for a more detailed breakdown of who won the 2012 Paris Marathon.