When Paris hosts the next Olympics in 2024, a unique event will take place that is intended to spread the goodwill of the Games.
A mass participation marathon will be held on the same day and the same course as the men’s Olympic race.
But there is a catch.
To qualify for the mass participation event, runners will need to beat reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya, in a 5km race in Paris this Sunday, 31 October.
Given Kipchoge’s average time per kilometre is two minutes and 53 seconds, it will be a Herculean task for a recreational runner to beat him.
But the good news for people involved in Sunday’s race is that Kipchoge will be time handicapped, with amateur runners given a decent headstart.
For keen runner and Canberra accountant with RSM Australia, Alex Kalyvas, it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
He had to register with evidence of his running ability before winning selection in the qualification race.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the Olympics,” he says. “I came across this opportunity and thought I would love to have a go. It would be amazing to be involved as an amateur runner.”
Alex says his focus has been on tennis throughout his life, but he runs at a recreational level meaning he heads into the 5km race with a certain amount of confidence.
With the notification of his selection in the qualification race only just coming through, it has been a race in itself to secure a travel exemption to fly to Paris in time for this weekend’s event.
There will be a certain amount of fanfare surrounding Sunday’s race, which will mark 1000 days before the start of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
If nothing else, Alex has shown enormous determination just to get to the start line.