In 2024, France will host the Summer Olympics for the first time in 100 years.
The French capital is also host to numerous major running events, most notably, of course, the Paris Marathon, which is one of the largest marathon events in the world.
The three most popular sports in France are soccer, rugby and cycling. France's national soccer team celebrated its second World Cup title in 2018 after a 20-year hiatus. In the south and southwest of France, however, soccer is even trumped by rugby. The Tour de France, the world's most important cycling stage race, is also held here once a year. Other popular sports in France include skiing, Formula 1, judo, basketball, handball and of course athletics.
The biggest running events in France
The Paris Marathon is one of the biggest spring marathons in the world, along with Tokyo, Boston and London. The city of love has been hosting marathons since 1976. What once began with 126 finishers has long since developed into a huge grassroots event. Just eight years after its premiere in Paris in 1984, the number of finishers exceeded 10,000 for the first time, and in 2000, just in time for the turn of the millennium, the 20,000-participant mark was broken, before the number of finishers even exceeded 30,000 in 2006. In 2015, 40,172 runners finished the Paris Marathon, with as many as 54,000 registered for the 42.195-kilometer race, according to the organizers. The fast course passes many of the city's landmarks. The start is at the Champ-Elysees, the finish at the Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe).
A marathon of a very special kind
A marathon of a very different kind is the Marathon du Médoc. During this race, you will be served wine and delicious sandwiches along the route. You can enjoy a glass of wine at the refreshment stations. More than 6,000 runners participate in the marathon every year. Nevertheless, you should not take it easy here. Despite the many wine breaks, there is a time limit of 6:30 hours for the 42.2 kilometers. The Marathon du Médoc has even made it into the list of the 25 most beautiful marathons in the world.
Fantastic trails and sky runs in France
Thanks to the Alps and Pyrenees, France is also predestined for impressive trails and mountain runs. An example: At the Mont Blanc Marathon you can complete a marathon with several thousand meters of altitude at the foot of the largest mountain in the Alps. Of course, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is also known worldwide.
But even in the big city you can run on trails, as the Ecotrail de Paris, held annually in spring, proves.
Ultra runners should not miss the "Le Grand Raid Reunion" race. After all, this is one of the biggest ultra runs in the world. A great panorama is not excluded here either. Other nice city marathons are Marathon de Toulouse, Run in Lyon, Normandy Running Festival in Caen, Run in Reims and Marseille Marathon. Among the most famous triathlon events are IRONMAN France Nice in Nice, IRONMAN 70.3 Nice and IRONMAN 70.3 Vichy. The largest half marathon in France, the Semi-Marathon de Paris, is also held in France's capital.
All Running Races in France (sorted by date) can be found in the following overview: