MADE IN MARSEILLE
Marseille Music Marathon is launched on Sunday
2003-03-20There are few big cities in the world, even the third world, which don have their popular marathon nowadays. Which makes it all the more unusual that Frances second city, Marseille does not have one. There have been a couple of false starts in the past, but the latest attempt has all the hallmarks of third time lucky.
The inaugural Marseille Music Marathon is launched on Sunday, modelled on the successful Rock Roll Marathon in San Diego, California. The city best known abroad for the Chateau dIf, which housed The Man in the Iron Mask, and for its questionable reputation based on the French Connection, is in the process of reinventing itself.
The port, where Yves Montand once worked as a stevedore has been cleaned up, and there are moves to tempt the successful Swiss Americas Cup winning team from its base in nearby Sète. National hero, Zinédine Zidane was born here, and local soccer team, Olympique Marseille is once again vying for top honours. And the marathon fits right into that new image that Marseilles mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin is eagerly promoting.
Race organizer, José Goianni said today, "Marseille needed a marathon that corresponded to its cosmopolitan and popular image, and the idea of a musical group every two or three kilometres on the route will help build its image with the local people.
Race favourite is Vincenzo Modica of Italy, world championships silver medallist in 1999, Mayor Gaudin will fire the start gun, and special guests will include 82 year old Alain Mimoun, Frances Olympic marathon champion from Melbourne 1956.
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