Bright blue sky and warm November temperatures welcomed runners from more than 20 countries to the 33rd edition of the Athens Marathon.
“Athens Marathon, The Authentic” once again affirmed its status as a unique race, with a record number of 16,000 runners taking to the start line for the main event.
Runners from all over the world have this particularly special 42km on their bucket lists, considering it the ultimate marathon. With such a professionally organised event to celebrate such a historic location, it’s easy to see why.
It starts at the very birthplace of the event’s inspiration; the coastal town of Marathon. The current course follows much of the same historic route to Athens as believed to have been run by the soldier messenger Pheidippides over 2500 years ago.
Due to the country’s current economic state, the choice was made by Greek athletics federation SEGAS to remain within budget, which meant that for the first time professionals were not invited to participate.
This absence of foreign elites, lead to the first Greek winner since 2000. Christoforos Merousis went into the lead after the first few kilometres and remained there to cross the finish first in a time of 2:21:22. In an example of total Greek victory the first 20 finishers were Greek.
Meanwhile, 43-year-old Japanese amateur Minori Hayakari was the first woman to complete the course in a time of 2:52.06, ending in 37th place.
A total of 43,000 entrants across the marathon, 10km and 5km got to experience the glory of finishing in the majestic Panathinaikon Stadium.
The white marble stadium built for the first modern Olympics in 1896 is the well-earned treat at the end of the race, once again succeeding to wow runners and spectators alike as the centrepiece of this spectacular event.