This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Athens Marathon, a race that follows the path once run by a messenger named Feidippides in 490 BC to share news of the Greeks’ victory over the Persians.
More than 70,000 runners from 140 countries are signed up for the event, including the classic marathon route and several other races in the Attica region.
All these races end at the Panathenaic Stadium, a place rich with history as it hosted the first Olympic Games of the Modern Era in 1896.
Around a quarter of the participants come from other countries. One notable runner is Ermias Ayele from Ethiopia, who plans to run the entire 42,195-meter race without wearing any shoes.
He’s doing this to pay homage to Ethiopian running legends like Abebe Bikila, who famously won the 1960 Rome Olympics and later ran the Athens Classic Marathon barefoot in 1961.
Ayele sees running the marathon without shoes as a tribute to Bikila and a personal challenge, considering that the marathon originated in Greece.
The impact of this event on the Greek economy is significant, with an estimated boost of around 45 million euros solely from the influx of visitors to Athens for this occasion.
The city’s hotels are almost fully booked, reaching 97% occupancy this weekend.
Greek Minister of Tourism, Olga Kefalogianni, sees this as beneficial for the economy and a fantastic opportunity for visitors to explore Athens, a city steeped in rich history.
Thousands of people worldwide have gathered not only to participate in the marathon but also to experience the city itself.
Greek Minister of Sports Ioannis Vroutsis emphasizes the importance of spreading the message worldwide that anyone passionate about sports, especially marathons, should consider participating in the authentic Athens Marathon at least once in their lifetime.
The marathon holds a special place as a global symbol, and running it in Greece, its birthplace is a unique experience.
The event isn’t just for elite athletes. Various other races are happening alongside the marathon, attracting thousands of participants, including races designed explicitly for children.
The 40th edition of the Authentic Athens Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 12.
In conclusion, the Athens Marathon’s 40th anniversary celebration is not just about a race; it’s a gathering of people from diverse corners of the world coming together to commemorate history, honour legends, and embrace the spirit of sportsmanship.
It’s a testament to an event’s enduring appeal and significance that traces its roots back to an ancient messenger’s historic run.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members.