Love was in the air for the 2017 Paris Marathon.
Leading a record 42,500 finishers were Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata and Purity Rionoripo becoming the first married couple to win Paris Marathon titles. Rionoripo broke the course record running 2:20:55; Lonyangata ran 2:06:10 for the win in the men’s race. (Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the greatest long-distance runner ever, holds the men’s marathon course record at 2:05:04.)
The Schneider Electric Paris Marathon is the largest road race on the French running circuit and is one of the most popular road races in Europe. Though it’s not part of the exclusive Abbott World Marathon Majors, the race in the French capital is an IAAF Gold Label event, the highest certification in road running.
Sunday marked the second consecutive year that Kenyans swept the Paris Marathon titles. For Rionoripo, 23, her 2:20 clocking was a four-minute improvement over her previous lifetime best. Lonyangata, 24, meanwhile had not won a marathon in two years, according to the IAAF, the world’s governing body for athletics.
Not only did Kenyans sweep the Paris titles, all six podium spots in both the men’s and women’s divisions went to runners from the East Africa distance-running powerhouse.
April is a popular month for some of the world’s largest marathons including Rotterdam, which was also Sunday, as well as Boston and London later this month, both part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Tokyo, Chicago, Berlin and New York City are the other four world majors.
The Paris Marathon is one of the more spectacular big city marathons as it’s both well-attended and tours the major landmarks throughout the city. The event begins on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with a fast opening as its a downhill start. The race ends on Avenue Foch, the widest avenue in Paris and home to many of the city’s grand palaces.