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Olympic marathon route

The Olympic marathon is a legendary event and has featured on the programme since the first Games of the modern era in 1896 in Athens. There have been so many incredible exploits and stories over the past century with this key event from the Games, with a race that is so challenging and demanding that nobody has ever won more than two medals in it. Scheduled for 10 August 2024 for the men’s event and the following day for the women’s race, the Paris 2024 Olympic marathon honours this legendary event and will follow a unique route paying tribute to the rich history of France and Paris.

Showcasing the women’s marathon

The marathon is one of the iconic events from the Olympic Games. For many years, the men’s marathon has been held at the end of the Games, on the competition’s final day, as a culminating event to bring the Olympic fortnight to a close. To showcase the performances by women athletes, this time we are reversing the order. The women’s marathon will bring a fortnight of intense emotions to a close on 11 August 2024, the competition’s final day, just a few hours before the closing ceremony, with the men’s marathon taking place the day before.

© Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
Florence Carpentier, sports historian
“Holding the women’s marathon after the men’s event, bringing the Games to a close, is hugely symbolic. Especially with the marathon, because women struggled for a long time to be able to take part, to get officials and public opinion to accept that they could run races like this. The history of the first modern Olympic Games, in 1896 in Athens, was marked by this as well. A woman tried to take part in the marathon. She was rejected and prevented from signing up. And this continued throughout the 20th century: large numbers of women fought to have the right to run, and for a very long time it was believed that their physique meant they were unable to run races like the marathon. So, Paris 2024 showcasing the women’s marathon in this way really is very important.”

Olympic athletes following in the footsteps of a historic march

The historic event recognised with the Olympic marathon route is a key moment from the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles, on 5 October 1789.

On 5 and 6 October 1789, market women, shopkeepers and workers from the popular quarters gathered in front of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris to demand bread and arms. Between 6,000 and 7,000 Parisian women, joined by men, marched through Paris to Versailles to bring the King back to the Tuileries. That day, Louis XVI finally agreed to ratify the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens.

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A spectacular and demanding route

In 2024, the men’s and women’s Olympic marathon races will follow a route that will be worthy of this event. It will link the Hôtel de Ville in Paris to Versailles, following a loop packed with history. The route will pass through nine of the Île-de-France region’s districts, against a backdrop of some of Paris’ most well-known monuments, the Paris region’s iconic parks and forests, and the majestic Palace of Versailles site: Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, Sèvres, Ville d’Avray, Versailles, Viroflay, Chaville, Meudon and Issy-les-Moulineaux.

This route across Île-de-France will give the marathon an original profile and will set demanding conditions for the athletes, because the Paris region is not as flat as it might seem. While a marathon is always a challenge for the body, this will be particularly true for the Paris 2024 event, with a route that will include a 436m climb and 438m descent. The maximum gradient on the route will be 13.5%.