The Paris Marathon, known as Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, is one of the finest marathons in the world. Run through the city of Paris, it has a huge field each and every day. I visited the Marathon in 2014, watching Kenenisa Bekele in his debut, and fell in love with the race. I have no idea why Paris is not part of the World Marathon Majors. 

Justin Lagat wrote this piece on Elisha Rotich, interviewing him just before his departure to defend his 2023 title in Paris. 

Elisha Rotich, the Paris Marathon course record holder, says that his training has gone well—as good as it was when he set the course record of 2:04:21 in 2021.

“Everything has gone very well. I never got any setbacks in my entire training period ahead of this marathon,” said Rotich, a day before he set out on his trip to The City of Love.

In a marathon event that has often been won by Kenyan male runners, with a total of 14 wins in the recent past, Rotich is the last Kenyan man to win it in 2021, which is overdue for Kenyan fans. However, it will be challenging for him. The previous three winners will also be there at the start line. Abeje Ayana (2023), Deso Gelmis (2022), and Rotich (2021) are among the leading contenders in Sunday’s race. But, still, there is little pressure on Rotich, who will be turning 34 years old five days after the event.

“I have been focusing more on my training than my opponents. I’ll go out there, give my best, and run my own race,” he said, adding that he had not even spent much time reviewing the entire list of the elite entries.

Rotich is cautious about raising his expectations and those of his fans. Despite not stating directly that he is going for the course record, the training that has gone well for him, the fact that his training mate ran 2:02:55 to finish second at the Tokyo Marathon and that his training group had the company of the late Kelvin Kiptum -the world record holder- for much of their training last year and early this year could mean that Rotich has more confidence and experience that he did in 2021.

However, he knows that anything can happen in a marathon race and is going to Paris expecting the best but also prepared for anything else.

“Marathon is a tough event. Your body must feel great when you wake up on the morning of race day. Even during my last marathon race in Paris, when I broke the course record, it wasn’t on my plan to set the new course record. It just happened that my body felt good during the race, the weather conditions were good, and I ran a perfect race,” he said.

If Rotich wins the Paris Marathon on Sunday, he will join a short list of men, including Steve Brace and Paul Lonyangata, who have won this marathon multiple times.