Athens Classic Marathon kicks off with records of participation

November 10, 2014 9:09 am 

By Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, Nov. 9 (PNA/Xinhua) — The 32nd 'Authentic' Athens Classic Marathon kicked off on Sunday from the site of the ancient battlefield in Marathon city to Athens, breaking records of participation in the annual event on the original historic course, according to organizers.

About 35,000 people from all over the world, including 345 Chinese, were at the starting line in Marathon and the shorter distance parallel courses in Athens at 9am local hour in order to follow the footsteps of the ancient Athenian soldier who announced the victory against the Persian forces before collapsing dead from exhaustion 2,500 years ago.

The 13,000 runners, who attempt the 42.195 kilometers route from Marathon to Panathinaikon Stadium in the centre of Athens, and the 35,000 total, are new records of participation for the Athens Classic Marathon.

Aside from the classic course, Athenians and foreign visitors take part in shorter distance 10 kilometers and 5 kilometers races in the city centre, as well as a Special Olympic Hellas race and Children's Races near the marble venue of the 1896 first modern Olympic Games and municipalities along the route.

All runners – but also the about 55,000 friends and family members who accompany them, the 50,000 spectators inside the stadium and the thousands of people across the streets – will be supported by 2,200 volunteers, 500 police officers and 150 specialized medical staff.

The organizers of the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) have available for the runners 270,000 water bottles, 47,000 isotonic drinks, another 47,000 juices, as well as 26,000 energy bars and 50,000 bananas to help them complete the feat.

Among participants in the 42.195 kilometres course this year was for first time as a runner Paco Rabao, the President of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), while in shorter distance races in Athens Greek government ministers and celebrities took part to raise awareness for several causes.

The Athens Classic Marathon is dedicated to the memory of Balkan Champion Gregoris Lambrakis, a pacifist politician who organized the first Peace Marathon race in 1963 and was assassinated shortly afterwards. (PNA/Xinhua)



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