I France, the annual cross-country event organised by the Paris newspaper Le Figaro attracted about 30,000 people at the weekend (17-18 December).
SV & CU Father Christmas and other veterans preparing for race (4 shots)
LV PAN Start of the veterans race
SV & TV Veterans racing over obstacles and through woods (3 shots)
SV Winner of the veterans arrives
SV Other veterans arrive at finish
SV Young women racing
SV & CU PAN Women racing through the woods (4 shots)
GV Leading women running to the finish
CU Young boy spectator
GV & LV Start of boy's race (2 shots)
TV Ultimate winner of boys' race in front
TV Others boys in pursuit
SV Winning boy at the finish
SV Other boys at the finish (2 shots)
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Background: I France, the annual cross-country event organised by the Paris newspaper Le Figaro attracted about 30,000 people at the weekend (17-18 December).
SYNOPSIS: The presence of Father Christmas added a touch of the festive season to the event which was held at the Bois de Boulogne, the forest near Paris.
The race is open to people of all ages-from 11 to 90 years. The oldest competitor was Louis Poiret de Raincy, who is 89 years old.
The length of the course varies between three and 12 kilometres, and presents the competitors with many obstacles.
The event has been held annually since 1961. And its popularity has grown each year.
The number of entries received this year created a new record, and was 28,000 more than the number for the inaugural year.
There are separate races for women and children. competitors take part either as individuals or run in groups.
People from all walks of life turn out for the race. The range from doctors to actors and from intellectuals to factory workers and soldiers.
To Parisiennes, the race has become a social phenomenon....Many of them take the event seriously and start preparing for it several days in advance. If they cannot finish among the top, they try to improve on their performances in previous years.
The main attraction was Jacky Boxberger, holder of the French national records for 5,000 and 10,000 metre races. He has been winning the main race, run over the full course, for the last three years, and was expected to make it four in a row.