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CHALLENGES AND RECORDS A RUNAWAY SUCCESS

The first runners started the 21.1 km test from the Pont de Sully (Île Saint Louis) at 8 o'clock this morning. Over 46,000 athletes tackled this challenge, the first major running event of the 2023 season. The 31st edition yielded new records in both the men's and the women's races

The Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris gets the 2023 running season on the road • Over 46,000 runners on the start line .The Kenyans Roncer Kipkorir and Sheila Chepkurui set new records. Jimmy Gressier (third) becomes the third Frenchman ever to smash the symbolic 1-hour barrier. Ahmed Andaloussi and Nadege Monchalin crowned French disabled sports wheelchair champions. A distance that everyone can handle, with 42% of the athletes making their half marathon debut today. Women made up 37% of the field. The 2024 Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris will be held on 3 March registration opens on Wednesday, 8 March. 

AND THE WINNERS ARE… RONCER KIPKORIR AND SHEILA CHEPKURUI

The elite race delivered on its promise, with a clash of titans among the favourites to win the event. It only took ten kilometres for the Kenyans Roncer Kipkorir and Josphat Chumo to open up a gap at the front with the Frenchman Jimmy Gressier. Another seven kilometres down the road, Roncer Kipkorir launched a decisive attack that left his two rivals in the dust. Roncer Kipkorir crossed the line first in a course record-breaking 59:38, beating Moses Kibet's previous best mark from 2021. His compatriot Josphat Chumo came in second in 59:55, while the Frenchman Jimmy Gressier finished on the bottom step of the podium in his first attempt over this distance. His time of 59:59 makes him the third Frenchman ever to smash the symbolic 1-hour barrier. The women's race also saw a new course record, as the Kenyan Sheila Chepkurui wrapped up the 21.1 km challenge in 1:06:01, scratching Pauline Njeri's time of 1:07:55 from 2012 from the record books. Her compatriot Marion Kibor was the runner-up in 1:06:45, followed by the Ethiopian Betelihem Yemer in 1:06:46. The top French runner, Anaïs Quemener, came in seventh in a time of 1:11:59.

FRENCH DISABLED SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris doubled as the French disabled sports half marathon championships for the third year in a row. Ahmed Andaloussi, fifth in the Tokyo Paralympics paratriathlon race, proved strongest among the 23 disabled athletes (including 7 wheelchair racers) who entered the race and gave a barnstorming performance to win in 51:13 and become the French disabled sports wheelchair champion. Nadege Monchalin claimed the women's title in 1:16:22.

A TOUR OF EASTERN PARIS

The field was treated to an amazing show in the iconic spots of eastern Paris. It started from Pont de Sully (Île Saint-Louis) and trotted down the quays of the Seine and the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand on its way to the Bois de Vincennes and its famous château. The runners then headed back to Paris via Avenue Daumesnil before pouring into the majestic Place de la Bastille, where a last-minute surge took them over the finish line!

A MULTITUDE OF FIRST-TIMERS

The half marathon, the ideal distance for beginners, attracts more and more people every year. 42% of the field, including 48% of the women, entered their first 21.1 km contest today. Overall, female participation, now at 37%, has been on a constant rise for years —proof, if any were needed, that women love running every bit as much as men! Each runner has a different motivation. This unique adventure is far from insurmountable, not least because the race provides rookies with a treasure trove of tips, guides and training plans.

Marine: "The preparation and the race took me on an emotional roller-coaster! The atmosphere was fantastic and I'm really happy to have finished my first official half marathon in under two hours.

" Cyril: "It was a real challenge. I thought I'd come up short, but I made it to the finish! I ran with a friend, and I'm happy I shared this experience with him." PODIUM PLACE