Thousands of runners from all over the world are expected to participate in this year's Athens Classic Marathon.

 

Apart from the sporting experience, they will have the chance to enjoy traditional Greek hospitality, discover the country’s fascinating landscape and explore a city with a wonderful history.

 

Among all the Olympic sport events, the marathon stands out as it was born of a true historic and heroic event.

 

It was a triumph accomplished by a news-bearing foot soldier from ancient Athens, who announced - with his last words - the victory of the Greeks against the Persians during the Marathon Battle in 490 BC.

The 42.195km marathon race became one of the most competitive events during the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896.

 

A Greek athlete named Spyros Louis won the gold medal and became a legend of Greek and international athletics. He ran what has been referred to ever since as the original marathon course, from the ancient city of Marathon to the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens.

 

It is the same course that is still followed by runners today. The route is a challenge, with hills and descents over long distances. Not far after the start runners detour around the hilly mound that marks the tomb of the soldiers killed at the Battle of Marathon and a War Memorial.

 

Then they return to the road to Athens, following the coast for a distance and passing through towns on their way to the finish.

 

The final 170m are inside the historic Panathinaikon Stadium, with its spectacular tiered marble seating and an atmosphere reminiscent of those first modern Olympics. There has been a stadium on this site since 566BC. It was rebuilt in marble in 329BC and renovated for Olympic Games in 1869, 1896 and 2004. Supporters cheer their runners on to the finish. Music and commentary add to the festival feeling.

 

The marathon has always had a prominent place in the hearts and minds of sports enthusiasts. It represents the highest effort where the human body, soul and mind are tested to their limits and runners challenge themselves to reach the finish line.

Athens is the place to run the most classic marathon of them all.

Next event date:

13 November 2011

 

 

www.athensclassicmarathon.gr

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