Paris on the run


Paris is known for many things, but not many people know that it has one of the biggest marathons in the world. On a drizzly Sunday morning in April this year, 40,000 runners (that's the limit imposed by race officials) lined up at the Arc de Triomphe (Gallery II) and set out on a 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) jaunt that took them along the rue de Rivoli (left) all the way to the Bois de Vincennes, then all the way back across the city past Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower to the Bois de Boulogne and the finish at the foot of Avenue Foch. The men's race was won by Kenyan Stanley Biwott in a record 2 hours and 5 minutes, while the women's race was won by Ethiopian Tirfi Beyene. The headlines were captured, however, by Benjamin Malaty, a 25-year -old from Bordeaux who was the top French finisher in 19th place.  While running may at first blush seem to be a very un-French activity, anyone who's been to Paris recently knows it ain't so -- you can see thousands of Parisians running every day around the Luxembourg Gardens, on the Champ de Mars, in many other parks and even along the Seine. Next thing you know they'll outlaw smoking in public places (whoops -- I forgot, that happened in 2009).