Paris runners race Olympic marathon champion Kipchoge

PARIS (AP) — Some 3,600 amateur runners faced off Sunday against Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge in a special race in the heart of Paris, as the city prepares to host the 2024 Olympics.

The runners raced along the historic, cobblestoned Champs-Elysees, with Kipchoge starting off last, darting alongside.

All those he failed to catch over the 5-kilometer race — more than 1,000 people — won access to an Olympic-related marathon in 2024, according to organizers. The event was organized to mark 1,000 days before the Paris Games.

Kipchoge won gold in the Olympic marathon in August and in 2016, and is the world record holder for the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds.

Kenya-born Kipchoge, 36, said he doesn’t know yet whether he’ll race in Paris in 2024, but said Sunday that “I am happy to be an ambassador for 2024, even if I will not be running I will be there to encourage people.” He called Sunday’s race a “wonderful experience.”

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