It’s an almost ideal setting. Maybe it’s just a little too cold. But Valencia and its rather flat 42.195 km route are a suitable playground for seeking world records, but also the minimums for Paris 2024. In this game, several French athletes have ticked off the Spanish date of December 3 and the Spanish marathon (departure 8:15 a.m.) to get their ticket for the Olympic Games.
To win the precious ticket, you will have to spend this Sunday in the men’s race under the 2 hours, 8 minutes and 10 seconds mark. The only one to have already achieved it on the French side over the period (November 2022-April 2024), Nicolas Navarro will be there as preparations. For others like Morhad Amdouni, not yet qualified after participating in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 (17th) or even Medhi Frère, 18th in the last World Championships, there will be a little more pressure.
🪧 News of the day! Here is the complete and definitive list of French elite athletes competing in the Maratón Valencia (🇪🇸) this Sunday morning:
🇫🇷 Morhad Amdouni (2H05’22)
🇫🇷 Nicolas Navarro (2H06’45)
🇫🇷 Mehdi Brother (2H08’55)
🇫🇷 Yohan Durand (2H09’21)
🇫🇷 Benjamin Choquert… pic.twitter.com/jyLzdHEz32
— RUN’IX (@RUN_IX) December 1, 2023
Yohan Durand and Benjamin Choquert also have a personal best under 2h10min but will have to beat it to get closer to the Games. As a reminder, there cannot be more than three athletes from the same country per event in Paris next summer.
For women, the minimums, set at 2 hours 26 minutes and 50 seconds per World Athletics, were achieved by a single Frenchwoman Mekdes Woldu with only 16 seconds ahead of the reference time in Hamburg last April. Mélody Julien, Anaïs Quemener and even Méline Rollin are in the race in Valence to achieve such a performance.
Big first for Cheptegei
Much higher in the marathon hierarchy, several stars will be present this Sunday in Spain. Kenisa Bekele, the third fastest runner in history over the distance, will also have to meet the minimum requirements to be present in Paris. Another attraction, Ugandan superstar Joshua Cheptegei is competing in a marathon for the first time.
The Olympic 5,000m champion, three-time reigning world champion in the 10,000m and world record holder for these two distances is aiming for a podium and a time of around “2:03 or 2:04”. “Next year, it will be ten years that I have been running at the international level, so moving on to the marathon is like a new adventure,” he explained to a handful of journalists. Before why not line up for the marathon in Paris?