The “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” has been an enduring success story in spite of Greece’s economic difficulties.
The race organisers were stymied by intense bank controls last year but despite having to organise the event on a shoestring budget, a record 43,000 runners still registered to take part across the programme making up the country’s biggest running event which has been given a five star endorsement by European Athletics Running For All.
This year, organisers are expecting another bumper field of 50,000 runners to compete with at least 18,000 runners tackling the classic Marathon to Athens course. And the event will be headed by an elite field which the race organisers were forced to forego last year due to budgetary constraints.
The event has clearly aroused great interest in running among the Greek public. Proof of this was provided on just one day earlier this year when the organisers opened online registration for participation.
Within 10 hours of entries opening, spaces for the 5km and 10km races were completely sold out.
“The success of the Athens Marathon is a contribution to people’s awareness of a healthier lifestyle. That is really the biggest legacy of the Athens Marathon for the Greek public,” said Kostas Panagopoulos, President of the Hellenic Athletics Federation.
Before the winner crosses the finish line in the Panathenaic Stadium on November 13, a special ceremony will take place in the same venue which staged the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896. This will commemorate the first Olympic Marathon race, held 120 years ago.
The ceremony will be organised in conjunction with the Hellenic Olympic Committee and the organisers expect huge numbers of spectators in the historic marble arena which is where the Summer Olympics all began.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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