One of the numerous marathons that I would like to run in this lifetime is the Athens classic marathon.It is the one race that offers the experience of running the original Marathon course, starting from the Marathon Town and finishing in the Panathinaikon Stadium. It is the Marathon Race that uniquely combines the past with the present; the myth with history.In 490 BC Battle of Marathon,the Greek army, although outnumbered six to one, defeated the Persians on the plain two miles beyond Marathon. Legend has it that Phaedippides, a Greek soldier, was ordered to convey news of the victory to the elders in Athens. He ran all the way, uttered the immortal words, “Rejoice, we conquer!”....and then dropped dead .(Many modern marathon runners know exactly how he must have felt).
Although the battle of Marathon certainly took place, Phaedippides’feat has no factual basis whatsoever. No matter, it gave rise to the “invention” of the marathon as a race over a distance chosen for no good reason, among runners who are mostly incapable of winning it, to commemorate an event, which almost certainly never happened! The first modern marathon was run between Marathon & Athens in 1896, a distance of 25 miles and was won by Spiridon Louis from Amaroussion, near Athens, in 2h.58m.50s.
It seems likely that the Greeks will lay on special celebrations for the 2010 Athens Marathon to commemorate the 2500the year of the Battle of Marathon. There might even be a special commemorative, and therefore sought after, medal. The race is most likely to be on 31st October 2010. I am seriously tempted to run this event and have put myself on the mailing list to be informed when the registration opens. It is expected that the event will be highly in demand and will get sold out early.
The 2009 edition of the event was held the past weekend on 8th November.More than 3600 athletes participated. The winner of the 27th Marathon is KIPKURUI JOSEPHAT of Kenya in 2:13:44. First Greek athlete to cross the finish line was THEODORAKAKOS DIMITRIOS in 2:26:27. The weather was rainy, especially at the first half of the race, which was the main reason that times where not so fast. First woman is OZAKI AKEMI of Japan in 2:39:56. First Greek woman athlete is AMPATZIDOU GEORGIA in 2:44:23. Another reason the winning times are not very fast as the course is supposed to be quite tough with a steady uphill climb for about 35Km.