There is so much to say about the 34th Athens Classical which took place last Sunday, 13th November 2016.
Athens celebrated 120 years from the First Modern Marathon Race, whereby in 1896 athletes from five countries lined up at the starting line in order to run the distance of 42,2 kms to the Panathenaic Stadium on a dirt path!! The race was won by Spiros Louis, of Greece, whose victory stood as a symbol of tireless effort and the breaking of physical and mental barriers!!
For runners from both far and wide, The Athens Marathon is considered as being a lifetime wish and participation as it is the only race conducted along the original course, hence its name as “The Authentic”.
Haile Gebrselassie, winner of two Olympic golds and many world titles, was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award on the Friday prior to the race and he expressed that “everyone wants to visit the birthplace of the marathon, that’s why they are coming here to run”.
This year there was a record in participation – almost 18,000 runners for the Marathon and a total of 50,000 runners for all races, including the 5 and 10kms.
No records were made however in a dramatic closing run, Luka Rotich overtook his fellow Kenyan and long-time race leader Benson Kipruto and came first with 2:12:49, leaving him at second place at 2:13:24.
With the ladies, we have the debut at first place by Kenyan Nancy Arusei with and impressive 2:38:13 leaving our own Ourania Rebouli at third place with 2:49:24.
We feel privileged to have participated in the Marathon, and proud to say that the city of Athens was very well prepared to accommodate such a vast number of Athletes from all parts of the world.
Great organization and volunteer work made it a highly successful and enjoyable race. Well done Athens…………till next year then.