French woman breaks world record for running marathon… in high heels

A French woman has smashed the rather unusual world record for running a marathon in high heels.

French woman breaks world record for running marathon... in high heels
Christelle Doyhambehere, a 34-year-old nursing assistant and mother of two from the city of Pau in south west France completed the Paris marathon in a staggering 6 hours, 4 minutes, and 7 seconds – all in a pair of three inch heels. 
That’s an hour and 23 minutes faster than the previous world record of 7:27:53, set by the American Irene Sewell at the Chattanooga, Tennessee marathon in October 2017. 
And no doubt her knees are still feeling the effect of her impressive achievement. 
The unusual idea struck the 34-year-old about a year ago, during a rainy day trip to the movies.
When she and her partner, with whom she had just signed up for the Paris marathon, left the theatre, she ran to the car, in spite of the high heels she wears regularly. “Why don’t you run the marathon in those shoes?” joked her partner. 
After reading about Irene Sewell’s record, she began training five to six times a week, half the time in trainers and half the time in heels. She conducted her high-heeled session at night, wearing a headlamp, for fear of “finding pictures of herself on social media”.
When she started the race Sunday morning, she was well prepared, wearing a sturdy pair of salsa pumps over taped ankles, running socks and calf compression sleeves.
Her race went relatively smoothly except for a chafing problem which her partner and trainer, who joined her for the last third of the race after having completed the marathon himself, saw to. 
Upon crossing the finishing line, she was shocked to have completed the marathon so quickly.
“I hoped to beat the record, but not by that much!” she said. “It went well from the beginning up to about the 23rd kilometre, I stopped at every refuelling point to avoid cramps. After that, I saw that I had some breathing room for the second part, so I took my time.”
She dedicated her world record attempt to raising funds for the charity Koala, which provides entertainment to children being cared for in the pediatrics department at the hospital in Pau, where she works as a nursing assistant. 

Donations have increased on her fundraising page on the crowdfunding platform Leetchi since her story hit the press.
Her record is pending official approval by Guinness.
By Edward O’Reilly

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Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to