31st Athens Classic Marathon: The 2,500 Years Authentic Marathon Course

Posted: October 31, 2013 by ACE of Greece in Uncategorized
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31st Athens Classic Marathon

A true historic and heroic event testing the strength of human will and the athletic spirit.  Join 16.000 runners in the streets of Athens and experience the magic of the “Authentic Marathon Course”!   Athens Classic Marathon is a unique running-event of great historical importance. Carrying on the tradition since the first Olympics in 1896, the runners follow the classic marathon route retracing the steps of Pheidippides himself!

Top runners will compete this year in the 31st Athens Classic Marathon event on Sunday, 10 November 2013.  Among them, Raymond Bett, who has won twice the race, and Gishu Mindaye.

The start point of the 42 km race-course is perhaps one of the most difficult major marathon races.  The course is uphill from the 10 km mark to the 31 km mark; the toughest uphill climb of any major marathon.  The course begins in the town of Marathon, where it passes the tomb of the Athenian soldiers, and it traces a path near the coast through Nea Makri. Following the steep rise, the course goes lightly downhill towards the city of Athens.  It passes a statue of a runner in the city center before finishing up at the horseshoe-shaped Panathinaiko Stadium; the beautiful marble stadium in which the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 and the finishing point for the 2004 Olympic marathons.

Beside the mass participation that the 31st Athens Classic Marathon is enjoying this year, the event will be brightened with the establishment and announcement of the AIMS Award for the Best Marathon Runner of the Year.  AIMS, in cooperation with the Athens Classic Marathon Organizing Committee, will award the world Best Male and Female Marathon Runner of 2013 in a Gala to be held on November 8, 2013, two days before the Athens Classic Marathon.

This Gala is to become a new worldwide AIMS event, to be staged every year in Athens, the birthplace of the marathon race, and the main point of reference of all marathon runners around the world.  As of 2010, which happened to be the 2.500 years anniversary of the Marathon Battle, the Athens Classic Marathon is included in the “Golden Marathons”, the most important marathon events organized annually all over the world.

A bit of history:

The marathon course was inspired by the legend of Pheidippides, a professional runner-soldier, a messenger in Ancient Greece, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians in 490 BC. The French Sorbonne Professor Michel Bréal, invoking the legend of Pheidippides, suggested the inclusion of a long-distance race of 42,195km (equivalent to the distance “Athens -Marathon”) in the first Olympic Games; as an intervention of fate.  The first Marathon winner was the Greek water-carrier Spyros Louis.

The provenance of the competitive race is traced back to the Marathon race at the 1896 Olympics.  The Athens Classic Marathon began in 1972 as a joint venture between the Greek tourist board and athletics association.  The race came under the auspices of the current organizers and SEGAS in 1983 and has since become a major race, being awarded Gold Label Road Race status by the IAAF.

Hope to see you there!

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