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Athens Classic Marathon

Many runners will want to head to Greece as that is where the idea of the long distance run started. The story goes that a soldier ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver a message. This occurred over two thousand years ago. The Athens Classic Marathon allows runners of today to follow in those footsteps.

The Athens Classic Marathon can be a tough event for runners. There are some flat parts of the course, and the start of the race has the runners commencing with a downhill section, but later on the uphill sections can take a toll. The race begins in Marathonas, and the first quarter of the run is not gruelling. Around the 11km mark is the start of several uphill sections, while harder climbs occur around the 25km and 30km marks. After 37km the race is more downhill, eventually finishing inside the Panathinaikon Stadium.

Before the race, runners are collected by bus at meeting points around Athens. There are water stations approximately every 2.5km and some of these areas also have sponges, energy drinks and energy bars available. Other races at the event include the 10km and 5km road races and also power walking events.

The fastest man in the history of the Athens Classic Marathon is Abdelkrim Boubker from Morocco, with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 40 seconds. Lithuania's Rasa Drazdauskaite ran the fastest time for a woman, with 2 hours, 31 minutes and 6 seconds in 2010. Many locals have won their home marathon, and the list of Greeks that have won the race includes Yiannis Kouros, Christos Dumas and Teofanis Tsimingatos.

The race is on during November each year. Starting around breakfast time, the runners can expect to depart with the temperature around 12 degrees Celsius, and should finish the race before the high temperature of the day which can average around 18 degrees Celsius for that time of year.

Another marathon to consider in Greece is the Alexander The Great Marathon. Held during April, it is a course that is mostly flat that travels from Pella to Thessaloniki.

Visitors to Athens will want to see the historic locations like the Acropolis. There is more history on display at the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Many sporting events take place around Athens with soccer and basketball teams playing for European championships.

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