Right from the start, it was a perfect day for a marathon: blue skies, balmy temperatures and little wind. 

 

Excellent organisation and plenty of volunteers ensured a memorable experience for the 10,000 who lined up at Marathon to run to Athens in the footsteps of the ancient soldier-messenger Pheidippides.

 

A further 15,000 ran the scenic new 5km and 10km routes around Athens to complete their runs before the first marathoner crossed the line.

 

Perhaps the greatest highlight for all participants is their finish in Athens’ treasured Panathinaikon Stadium, home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 but with a history stretching back to 566BC.

 

Athens Classic Marathon is a challenging race.  From the start in the town of Marathon, it’s relatively flat as runners complete a circuit of the Marathon Tomb and memorial. 

 

The tomb is an earth mound where the remains are buried of the 192 Athenian soldiers killed in their victorious 490BC battle against the Persians.  It was from here that Pheidippides ran to Athens to report the victory and it remains sacred ground today.

 

 

 

 

Runners climb gradually from 11-17km and there are further challenging ascents – with a few descents - up to 31km.  From there, the course is largely downhill to the finish.

 

Kenyans dominated the podium this year, taking the first three men’s and first women’s places.  

Hillary Yego finished first in 2:13.50, followed by Dickson Kimeli (2:14:40) and David Rutoh (2:14:47).

 

First woman home was Nancy Rotich (2:41:38), followed by Ukrainian Svitlana Stanko (2:41:56) and Greece’s own Magda Gazea (2:46:00).

 


 

 

 

10 November 2013
Athens, Greece


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For thousands, the event is a chance to relive the original marathon.  Runners from 102 countries participated, including one who ran in Greek national costume and another as a Spartan soldier, complete with shield.

 

The finish in Panithinaiko stadium is spectacular.  In ancient times a stadium on this site was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games, in honour of the Goddess Athena.  In 329 BC it was rebuilt in marble and in 140 AD was enlarged and renovated by Herodes Atticus, with a seating capacity of 50,000.

 

The remains of this ancient structure were excavated and refurbished in the 1870s and again in 1895 for the first modern Olympics.  It is the only stadium in the world built entirely of white marble.

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