60k expected for Paris marathon, Clémence Calvin among them
Some 60,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Paris on Sunday for the 43rd edition of the internaitonal race around some of the most famous landmarks of the French capital. Among them is European marathon silver medalist Clémence Calvin who has been allowed to run after her doping ban was lifted.
Fun runners, charity fundraisers and those in fancy dress will join elite athletes in trying to complete the 26-mile route, from the famous Champs Elysées Avenue in front of the Arc de Triomphe and cross seven districts of the French capital before returning to the monument via the Avenue Foch.
French marathon runner Calvin will now be joining the pack after the Council of State France's highest administrative court--lifted her doping ban on Friday.
The 28-year-old athlete had been provisionally suspended by the French anti-doping agency for allegedly obstructing a doping test last month in Morocco.
"I have no reason to be afraid because I am in the right and I am proud," Calvin told CNews Saturday.
Calvin denies any wrongdoing and claims she was brutalized by testers who pretended to be police officers when she was briefly stopped in the city of Marrakech on 27 March.
Calvin, who finished second in the 2018 European championships in Berlin, was in Morocco with her husband, the athlete Samir Dahmani, to train for this Sunday's Paris Marathon.
"Whether I get booed or cheered, I will focus only on the positive," she said.
Calvin is hoping to finish in less than 2 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds in order to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Last year, she had a running time of 2 hours 26 minutes and 28 seconds (just behind Christelle Daunay) the second best performance by a French female athlete.
Africans lead the pack
However, this year as always, all eyes will be riveted on the African runners, starting with Kenya's Paul Lonyangata. The 26-year-old has already won the marathon twice. His main rival is likely to be Ethiopia's Asefa Mengistu.
On the women's side, two Ethiopians are the favourites to win: 33-year-old Gelete Burka and 21-year-old Azmera Abreha, as defending women's champion Betsy Saina won't be present.
The Paris marathon is one of the world's most popular running events - up there with London, New York and Berlin as the 'ultimate' experience for marathon runners.