The Athens Classic Marathon is an annual race with a total distance of 42,195 kilometers which takes place usually at the beginning of November. Marathon is an official Olympic race since the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. This was an idea of the French linguist Michel Bréal, an idea adopted by the father of the modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin who wanted to incorporate in the Games "that famous race the soldier of Marathonas ran".
What is the history of the Marathon race?
The actual revival of the race referring to an Athenian soldier named Fidipidis who fought in the battle of Marathonas against the Persians in 490 BC and after the victory, he ran from Marathonas to Athens in order to announce their victory and, according to the legend, he died immediately afterward announcing the good news due to exhaustion.
The first winner of the Modern Marathon in the Olympic Games of 1986 was Spiros Louis a Greek water carrier. His record by that time was 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 50 seconds while today the Marathon record is only around 2 hours.
Why the Classic Marathon is so popular?
The history that is related to the Marathon victory gives to the race a symbolism of peace, while the Classic Marathon becomes more and more popular amongst athletes and people from all over the world who want to participate. Apart from being the original route, it is also one of the most difficult ones because the athletes have to go uphill and downhill several times.
What happens during the Classic Marathon?
The race starts from Marathonas and ends in Panathinaikon Stadium, or Kallimarmaro, in the center of Athens. During the days of the Classic Marathon, conferences and symposiums and other events take place in Athens and Marathonas, while the opening ceremony is very interesting since it also includes the lighting of the Flame of Marathon.
Today there are almost 800 Marathon races that take place annually around the world. But still, the "original event" attracts thousands of professional and amateur runners. More specifically the Classic Marathon participants exceed the number of 16.000 people.