Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Fri September 04 2015

Air France, Naturally, Sponsors First-Ever France Run

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 04, 2015

Air France, Naturally, Sponsors First-Ever France Run

Photo courtesy of Air France

First the Statue of Liberty, now this.

Air France on Saturday served as the lead sponsor of the New York Road Runners Club (NYRR) first-ever France Run and festival, welcoming more than 5,000 runners on Aug. 29 in Central Park.

Participants arrived in festive attire including wigs, berets, hues of the French tricolor flag and signs reading, “Vive la France!”

According to the airline, “The France Run and festival was inspired by the dynamic French culture of running and Air France’s history of providing passengers with the unique opportunity to fuel their passion for the sport through Air France-KLM’s frequent flyer program’s Flying Blue Running Club.”

Runners took their mark to the sound of the French-American Choir of New York singing the national anthems, “La Marseillaise” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Setting the event record, the top three men finished under 24 minutes with Diriba Degefa Yigezu of the West Side Runners finishing first in 23:50. Leading the women’s race and setting the event record, Angela Ortiz of the North Brooklyn Runners crossed the finish line at 29:10.

A kid’s race for children ages 2-12 followed the run and a festival showcasing the best of French culture attracted runners, their friends and families and passerbys.

The France Festival was held at the Naumburg Bandshell where runners and attendees enjoyed a variety of complimentary offerings by French vendors.

Air France has a long relationship with New York. On July 1, 1946, Air France started direct flights between Paris and New York, with refueling stops in Ireland and Canada, covering the route in just under 20 hours. Today, Air France makes six trips a day between New York and Paris, with an average flight time of 7.5 hours.

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