According to the legend, the very first marathon in the world appeared on the route where the present day Athens Classic Marathon takes place. In 490 BC a huge Persian army invaded the small town of Marathon (Greek: Μαραθωνας). However in the Battle of Marathon that ensued, the Greek army defeated the Persians, and a messenger named Pheidippides (Greek: ο Φειδιππίδης) was sent to Athens to bring news of the victory. The young Greek ran the 42 km from the battlefield to the capital as fast as he could, announced his joyous message, and died. And according to folklore, this is the inspiration for the marathon race we know today. Apart from the obvious connection to the legend of Pheidippides, the Athens Classic Marathon is dedicated to Gregoris Lambrakis (Greek Γρηγόρης Λαμπράκης), a Greek athlete and Member of Parliament who, after his politically motivated assassination in 1963, became a national symbol of democracy and social justice.
The Athens Marathon is one of the most popular and perhaps one of the most difficult marathons in Europe and by far the most popular run in Greece.
This year Athens Classic Marathon was celebrating the 30th anniversary. There were around 30.000 runners from all over the world for 5 and 10 kilometers distance in Athens centre and of course for the classic 30 kilometers distance. The runners of 30 kilometers race started at 9 a.m. and a little bit after 11 a.m. reached Kallimarmaro were more than 35.000 viewers were waiting to meet the winners. The runner from Kenya Raymond Kimutai Bett not just won the Marathon but also set a new record. He finished the distance in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 35 seconds. This is his second victory in Athens Classic Marathon, the first time he won in 2010. Among women the winner was also a representative of Kenya Chemtai Yadaa, who finished in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Although she collapsed just after the race and needed some time to feel better.
And before that the runners of 5 and 10 kilometers distance finished their race. Almost 15.000 simple Greeks and foreigners of all ages participated in the shorter races of the 30th Classic Marathon. There were a lot of seniors, parents with their kids, grandfathers and grandmothers with their kids and grandkids, anyone who wanted to celebrate this beautiful fest.