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Paris Alsace

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Paris Alsace
The Paris Alsace race has a long and illustrious history - not to mention a change of name along with different routes and distances since it's early beginnings.....

Paris - Strasbourg from 1926....

This race, arguably the most famous in the race walking world, has seen many changes over the  years.
  • The first edition, in 1926, started in Paris and finished in Strasbourg -  a total of 504km.  
  • 1933 the distance went up to 535km.
  • No races were held during the war years 1938-1948 and the Paris Strasbourg resumed in 1949. These early years saw up to 77 participants in each race.
  • In 1952, the race changed direction  - starting in Strasbourg and then in 1976 it reverted to Paris - Strasbourg.
  • During the years 1977-1980, the race once more started in Strasbourg and then in 1981, on the 55th anniversary, the town of Colmar became the finish venue, some 513.5km from Paris.

And so it became the Paris Colmar...
The town of Colmar welcomed this classic race on its final stage for many years.  

In 1988 the first edition of the ladies race started. By this time, the race had a "prologue" race in the centre of Paris, but the actual race (men) started in the Paris suburbs, initially Montreuil. Whilst the mens race was 533km, the ladies walked 368km.

  • The following year, 1989,  the ladies started in Epernay (when the first man arrived) and covered the 376km to Colmar.
  • Three Centurions took part in this edition: Ad Leermakers (NED), Jean Cecillion (FRA) and Sandra Brown (GBR). Sandra did not finish.  Also invited but did not start was Ed Shillabeer (GBR)
  • The following year was a better result for Sandra when she came in 2nd lady. 1990 was also Richard Brown's first attempt at 522km and he finished a successful 9th.
  • In 1991, Ad Leermakers and Jean Cecillon finished the 523km and Sandra, once more, came in second.
  • 1992:  Sandra Brown came in 2nd lady  and Richard Brown moved up to 6th place in the mens race.  Also competing was British Centurion, Ann Sayer who completed 200km - just 133km short of Colmar. Invited, but did not start, was British Centurion Kathy Crilley.
  • 1993 Jean Cecillon continued his successful Paris Colmar career finishing 7th. British Centurion, Alexei Rodionov (RUS) was 8th man and Ivo Majetic (TCZ) - US and Australian Centurion, finished in 10th place. Competing in the women's race was British Centurion Jill Green who came in 8th
  • Centurions competing in 1994 were Rodionov (2nd), Cecillon (5th) Leermakers (11th) and Jill Green placing 4th in the ladies race. 1994 was quite significant, in that one of the selective races was the 200km de Londres organised by Surrey Walking Club.
  • British Centurion, Ann Sayer completed 266km in the 1995 race. Rodionov placed 4th in the mens race and walkers from 9 countries participated. Truly international.
  • More successes for Centurions in 1996: Ivo Majetic was 3rd man and Jill Green was 8th in the ladies race
  • 1997 when Rodionov was 2nd man with Majetic placing 3rd. Once more, British Centurion Kathy Crilley was selected to compete but did not start.
  • 1998 saw Rodionov come in 2nd man and the following year he was placed 3rd man, followed by Majetic in 10th place.
  • 2000 saw the retun of Jean Cecillon  (6th place)
  • 2001 Cecillon was 7th man. Marleen Radder-Williams (NED) was 1st lady and again in 2002 with Cecillion finishing 3rd man.
  • These last three years saw a jump to 535km for the men and 360km for women.
  • 2002 saw the introduction of a new race the "Promotion" which meant there were now 3 races involved.
  • 2003 - the mens race reduced to 515km and the distance for the ladies race went up to 366.5km
  • 2005 saw the mens race further shortened to 440km and similarly 291.5km for the women.
  • No race in 2004
  • 2006 Rodionov was back, placing 4th and again the following year, coming in 2nd man.

(Later years will follow shortly...!)

For many years  the race finished in Colmar.  But as all these races rely on the goodwill of the local authorities, police  and sponsors and eventually the arrangement with Colmar came to an end.
So, next the race headed towards Ribeauville until 2020 (although this was cancelled due to the pandemic);  2021-2022 the race finished in Kaysersburg Vignoble.
In 2023, the race will revert to finishing in Colmar. - see route below.

Qualifying races
Over the years qualifying races have been held in a variety of towns (and countries) and have grown in number but  now reduced to 4 races.
Athletes will be invited to participate in La Mythique dependent on their performances (175km or more) over the qualifying races during the racing season. The qualifying races start in August of the preceding year:
  • Roubaix 28 hours (September)
  • Bourges 24H (Feb/March)
  • Chateau Thierry 24H (March)
  • Le Grand Est (March/April)
Wadelincourt 24H (BEL)  - previous qualier but the last race was held in  in 2022
Dijon used to be a qualifying race but has not been held for a few years.

The race has three categories:
La Mythique - c400 km  (Men)  
La Vosgéenne - c300 km  (Men/Women)
La Castèle: - c200 km  (Men/Women)

In 2022, the Prologue was held in Disney Land Paris then off to Chateau Thierry for the circuit along the Marne; and the remaining two stages more or lesss the same.

ROUTE 2023
Tuesday, May 30: Prologue in the Parisian region
Common prologue to the three events, late afternoon.

Wednesday 31st May: departure from CASTLE-THIERRY
Departure of the three races at Château-Thierry mid-afternoon.
Passes through Charly-sur-Marne, Château-Thierry, Dormans, Epernay

La Mythique: Passes through Chalons-en-Champagne, Pogny, Vitry-le-François, Sermaize-les-Bains
La Vosgéenne: Passes through Chalons-en-Champagne, Pogny, arrival at Vitry-le-François
La Castèle: Departure from Chalons-en-Champagne, Pogny, arrival at Vitry-le-François

The Mythique: Departure from Neufchâteau: Passes through Coussey, Removille, Gironcourt-sur-Vraine
The Vosgéenne and La Castèle: Departure from Gironcourt-sur-Vraine
Passing through Mirecourt, Madonne-et-Lamerey, arriving at Epinal

Saturday June 3: PLAINFAING - COLMAR
Shared route for all 3 races: Plainfaing, Col du Calvaire, Orbey, Kaysersberg-Vignoble, arrival at Colmar (Place Rapp)

Sunday June 4: COLMAR
The presentation of the awards

videos from previous races:
2016 race
Paris Colmar
1999 Paris Colmar

practial information covering....
  • Race Rules
  • Support vehicles and teams
  • Getting there and where to stay
  • Registration & medical
  and much more....

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