Perhaps the most significant feature of the Athens Classic Marathon (ACM) is that the basic course dates back almost 2500 years.

It was around 490BC that a Greek foot soldier ran 24 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of victory in battle.

When the modern Olympic Games were revived in 1896, the 26 mile (42.195km) marathon race became one of the most popular competitive events.

The route taken from Marathon town to the Panathenaikon Stadium in Athens became known as the "original course" and that is the route still followed in the Athens Classic Marathon today. It was also used for the 1997 IAAF World Championships and the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Entries in this year's event are open until 18th October. Runners can choose from the full marathon (running or power walking), a 10km run on the original course, and a 5km run.

This is an iconic event that attracts more than 50% of its thousands of runners from around the world, which makes it the most international race in the world. Apart from the sporting experience, they have the chance to enjoy traditional Greek hospitality, discover the country's fascinating landscape and explore a city which is constantly improving its standards, while also proud of its ancient heritage.

 

The race begins in the city of Marathon and makes its way in the first 6km to the 490BC battle site and around the burial tomb and memorial to the 192 Greek soldiers who died.

The route is undulating all the way into Athens, with some challenging hills amid attractive scenery. The final 170m are run on the soft surface of the modern Olympic stadium, surrounded by crowds of cheering spectators.

It is a satisfying achievement like no other to have symbolically followed the footsteps of an ancient Greek soldier and to end the run in a "modern" stadium that is already more than 110 years old.

Panathenaikon Stadium is the only one in the world to be fully built from white marble. In ancient times it was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games in honour of the Goddess Athena. During classical times the stadium had wooden seating. It was remade in marble in 329 BC and was enlarged and renovated by Herod Atticus in 140 BC, to a capacity of 50,000 people. The remnants of the ancient structure were excavated in 1870.

Next Event:
2009: 8 November

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Website:
www.athensclassicmarathon.gr

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