29 th ATHENS CLASSIC MARATHON November 13 th 2011 Click to continue Photos and information’s
Athens Classic Marathon The Athens Classic Marathon is an annual marathon road race, 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards), held in Athens, Greece, normally in early November. The race usually attracts around 5000 competitors every year, although the total reaches around 8000 when including the concurrent 5 and 10 kilometres road races and the racewalking contest. The marathon course is based on the myth from which the race gained its name: Pheidippides, a messenger in Ancient Greece, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks' victory over the Persians and he died after the delivery of the mesage. The provenance of the competitive race is traced back to the Marathon race at the 1896 Olympics. The Athens Classic Marathon began in 1972 as a joint venture between the Greek tourist board and athletics association. The race came under the auspices of the current organisers and SEGAS in 1983 and has since become a major race, being awarded Gold Label Road Race status by the IAAF.
In 1982, the organisers dedicated the race to Grigoris Lambrakis, an athlete and Member of the Greek Parliament, whose murder in the 1960s has become an inspirational cause for advocates of human rights. Since 2007 the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races has organised an annual International Marathon Symposium in Marathon town the day prior to the race. Taking from the tradition of the Olympic Torch, the race features the Marathon Flame, which is lit at the Tomb of the Battle of Marathon and carried to the stadium in Marathon before the beginning of each race. The 2010 edition of the event was combined with the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.
Greek competitors have traditionally been strong in the men's and women's competitions. However, East Africans and Japanese runners have increasingly become the dominant runners from 1999 onwards. The current men's and women's course records were both set in 2010: Raymond Bett has the best time of 2:12:40, while Rasa Drazdauskaitė's run of 2:31:06 is the quickest by a woman on the course.
After the 2009 event, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) included the Athens Classic Marathon in the IAAF GOLD LABEL category, recognizing the high standards of the organization. The Marathon Race starts at 09.00am from the Marathon Start Venue in the City of Marathonas. The first 200m of the course are sloping, leading to the exit of the Marathon Start Venue. The first 4 kilometers go downhill. The runners run along the Marathonos Avenue up to the 4thkm, when they turn right and enter the Marathonomachon Street and the Marathon Tomb, which they follow for the next 2.2km. The course follows a rather circular route around the War Memorial for those that died during the Marathon Battle (Marathon Tomb). The course becomes flat from the 6th to the 10thkm. From the 11th to the 17thkm the course goes uphill at certain parts. Then, and before the Rafina Junction, the runners meet a steep descent. Starting from the Rafina Junction, the course goes uphill again, while the most difficult part is until the 20thkm. As the runners pass along the district of Pikermi, they run through some, more or less, uphill parts of the course up to the 25thkm. The passage through the city of Pallini (27th - 28thkm) is also rising. The last and most difficult part of the course starts from Gerakas and goes up to Agia Paraskevi (30th – 31stkm). A steep ascent at the Stavros Junction is followed by a steep descent leading to the Agia Paraskevi Square. Then, the runners follow the Mesogeion Avenue, going through the districts of Chalandri and Cholargos, meeting flat and downhill parts of the course up to the finish. The most characteristic downhill part is the one that starts form the Ministry of National Defense and finishes at the Katechaki Junction (37.5km). Right after the Erricos Dynnan Hospital (38th km), the runners continue left on Michalakopoulou Avenue until the traffic lights of Michalakopoulou and Fidipidou Street crossroad. Following that point, they continue running on Fidipidou Street until the crossroad of Kiffisia & Alexandras Avenue. The latter crossroad highlights the 39th km, while the runners continue left on Vas. Sofias Avenue. On Vas. Sofias Avenue, the runners pass by the American Embassy, the Athens Music Hall and the Liberty Park (Parko Eleftherias). As they reach the Hilton Hotel, they slightly turn right heading towards the Syntagma Square, passing by the Evaggelismos Hospital and the War Museum. At the last part of the course and having turned on the Hrodou Attikou Street, the runners have eye contact with the Panathinaikon Stadium. Only a few meters remain in order for the runners to enter the Stadium and run the last 170 meters inside it, before reaching the finish line.