Athens Marathon

The 38th Athens Authentic Marathon race from the historic town of Marathon to Athens took place on Sunday 14th November, after an absence of one year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  A total of 9,800 runners, divided into two groups with different starting times, ran the 42,195 metres of the original route, with each group divided into eight blocks to avoid overcrowding.  There were various other race events run over the weekend, including the 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre races attracting 27,800 runners from 83 different countries, but the Sunday marathon race is the authentic event.  The original marathon was run by the Athenian foot messenger Pheidippides in 490 BC who announced, with his last dying words, of the victory of the Greek forces against the Persian invaders at the Battle of Marathon.

The 2021 marathon was won by Greek runner Costas Gkelaouzos in a time of 2:16:49, setting a new Greek marathon race record.

The 42km marathon race became one of the most competitive events during the revival of the modern Games of the I Olympiad held in Athens in 1896.  A Greek athlete named Spiridon Louis , running what has since been referred to as the Original Marathon Course from the ancient city of Marathon to the marble Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, won the first modern Olympic Marathon and became a legend of Greek and International Athletics, his headstone reads  'Blessed by the Gods - A Hero of Greece'.