Athens Classic Marathon

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Athens Classic Marathon
Panathinaiko Stadium is the finishing point of the race
Date Early November
Location Athens, Greece
Event type Road
Distance Marathon
Established 1972
Official site Athens Marathon

The Athens Classic (authentic) Marathon is an annual marathon road race held in Athens, Greece, normally in early November. The race attracted 43,000 competitors in 2015 of which 16,000 were for the 42.195 km course, both numbers being an all-time record for the event.[1] The rest of the runners competed in the concurrent 5 and 10 kilometres road races and the racewalking contest.

The marathon course is based on the legend 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.[2] The provenance of the competitive race is traced back to the Marathon race at the 1896 Olympics.[3] The Athens Classic Marathon began in 1972 as a joint venture between the Greek tourist board and athletics association.[4] 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.[5][6] The 1983 event was known as the Athens Peace Marathon and both a popular and elite level race featured for the first time that year.[7]

It is perhaps the most difficult major marathon race: the course is uphill from the 10 km mark to the 31 km mark – the toughest uphill climb of any major marathon.[8] The course begins in the town of Marathon, where it passes the tomb of the Athenian soldiers, and it traces a path near the coast through Nea Makri. Following the steep rise, the course goes lightly downhill towards the city of Athens.[9] It passes a statue of a runner (Ο Δρομέας) in the city centre before finishing up at the Panathinaiko Stadium;[10] a site for athletics competitions in ancient times and the finishing point for both the 1896 and 2004 Olympic marathons.[9]

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.[2] 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.[11] The 2010 edition of the event was combined with the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.[12] As the 2500 anniversary was actually in 2011, this year was also celebrated as the anniversary run.

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.[13] Since 1990, the Athens Classic Marathon has often served as the Greek national championships for the marathon event.[5][14] The current course records are 2:10:37 hours for men, set by Felix Kandie in 2014, while Rasa Drazdauskaitė's run of 2:31:06 in 2010 is the quickest by a woman on the course.[12] In 2016, a refugee team competed in the concurrent 5 kilometre road race.[15]

Past winners[edit]

A statue of Pheidippides on the route from Marathon to Athens
Burton Holmes' photograph entitled "1896: Three athletes in training for the marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens". The 1896 Olympic Marathon was the precursor to the Athens Classic Marathon.
Runners competing in the 1980 Athens Marathon, won by Jean-Paul Didim

Key:   Course record   Greek championship race

Year Men's winner Time
Women's winner Time
2017  Samuel Kalalei (KEN) 2:12:17  Bedatu Hirpa (ETH) 2:34:18
2016  Luka Rotich (KEN) 2:12:49  Nancy Arusei (KEN) 2:38:13
2015  Hristóforos Meroúsis (GRE) 2:21:22  Minori Hayakari (JPN) 2:52:06
2014  Felix Kandie (KEN) 2:10:37  Naomi Maiyo (KEN) 2:41:06
2013  Hillary Yego (KEN) 2:13:51  Nancy Rotich (KEN) 2:41:32
2012  Raymond Bett (KEN) 2:11:35  Consalater Yadaa (KEN) 2:40:00
2011  Abdelkrim Boubker (MAR) 2:11:40  Elfeneshe Melkamu (ETH) 2:35:25
2010  Raymond Bett (KEN) 2:12:40  Rasa Drazdauskaitė (LTU) 2:31:06
2009  Josephat Ngetich (KEN) 2:13:44  Akemi Ozaki (JPN) 2:39:56
2008  Paul Lekuraa (KEN) 2:12:42  Mai Tagami (JPN) 2:36:58
2007  Benjamin Korir (KEN) 2:14:40  Svetlana Ponomarenko (RUS) 2:33:19
2006  Henry Tarus (KEN) 2:17:46  Chikako Ogushi (JPN) 2:40:45
2005  James Saina (KEN) 2:16:15  Sisay Measo (ETH) 2:38:39
2004  Frederick Cherono (KEN) 2:15:28  Alemu Zinash (ETH) 2:41:11
2003  Zebedayo Bayo (TAN) 2:16:59  Nadezhda Wijenberg (NED) 2:43:18
2002  Mark Saina (KEN) 2:18:20  Sonja Oberem (GER) 2:37:29
2001  Noah Bor (KEN) 2:19:26  Sonja Oberem (GER) 2:36:15
2000  Nikólaos Poliás (GRE) 2:20:50  Yeoryía Abatzídou (GRE) 2:53:00
1999  Masato Yonehara (JPN) 2:18:35  Tamaki Okuno (JPN) 2:46:46
1998  Nikólaos Poliás (GRE) 2:18:38  Joy Smith (USA) 2:50:52
1997  Gerasimos Kokotos (GRE) 2:31:47  Melissa Hurta (USA) 2:54:43
1996  Nikitas Markakis (GRE) 2:33:15  Panagiota Petropoulou (GRE) 2:56:42
1995  Nikólaos Poliás (GRE) 2:27:27  Panagiota Nikolakopoulou (GRE) 2:59:45
1994  Christos Dumas (GRE) 2:27:27  Kleri Stavropoulou (GRE) 3:21:32
1993  Nikólaos Poliás (GRE) 2:28:12  Panagiota Petropoulou (GRE) 3:15:56
1992  Christos Dumas (GRE) 2:31:15  Reiko Hirosawa (JPN) 3:05:24
1991  Theodoros Fotopoulos (GRE) 2:28:18  Sofia Sotiriadou (GRE) 2:59:29
1990  Johan Engholm (SWE) 2:26:33  Prudence Taylor (NZL) 2:59:15
1989  Jan van Rijthoven (NED) 2:23:19  Leslie Lewis (USA) 2:37:42
1988  Fedor Ryzhov (URS) 2:17:33  Magdalini Poulimenou (GRE) 2:50:59
1987  Kevin Flanegan (RSA) 2:25:14  Irina Bogacheva (URS) 2:43:37
1986  Jos vander Water (BEL) 2:27:22  Signe Ward (NOR) 3:06:58
1985  Michael Hill (SWE) 2:26:20  Eryl Davies (GBR) 3:04:30
1984  Leon Swanepoel (RSA) 2:28:53  Barbara Balzer (USA) 2:58:30
1983  Martin J. McCarthy (GBR) 2:25:34  Hanne Jensen (DEN) 3:20:33
1982  Rick Callison (USA) 2:27:29  Ella Grimm (DEN) 3:07:41
1981  Yiannis Kouros (GRE) 2:32:50  Britta Sorensen (DEN) 3:16:00
1980  Jean-Paul Didim (FRA) 2:34:32  Arlene Volmer (USA) 3:17:07
1979  Richard Belk (GBR) 2:31:21  Gaby Birrer (SUI) 3:34:21
1978  Danny Flynn (AUS) 2:27:22  Alexandra Fili (GRE) 4:47:00
1977  Kebede Balcha (ETH) 2:14:40.8  Christina Johansson (SWE) 3:05:53
1976  Edgar Friedli (SUI) 2:33:50  Melissa Hendriksen (USA) 3:35:45
1975  Teofanis Tsimingatos (GRE) 2:35:39  Corrie Konings (NED) 3:16:13
1974  Ian Thompson (GBR) 2:13.50  Eva-Maria Westphal (GER) 3:55:56
1973  Jouko Kuha (FIN) 2:32:26 No women's race
1972  Yiannis Virvilis (GRE) 2:26:26 No women's race



Nο. Year 42 km. runners Total registrations
28th 2010 ? 20.000
29th 2011 9.000 17.500
30th 2012 9.500 26.000
31st 2013 ? 31.000
32nd 2014 13.000 35.000
33rd 2015 16.000 43.000
34th 2016 18.000 50.000
35th 2017 18.500 51.000


  • A separate race from the town of Marathon to Athens was regularly held in April from 1955 to at least 1989. This unrelated race, known as the Athens Marathon, frequently served as the Greek championship race but it is now discontinued.[7]


  1. ^ Over 43,000 ran in the 33rd Authentic Athens Marathon on Sunday Retrieved on Monday, November 09, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Panagopoulos, Kostas (2009). Editorial Archived January 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. Athens Classic Marathon. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  3. ^ Wenig, Jorg (2008-11-10). 2,500 years anniversary of the genesis of the marathon approaches. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  4. ^ Kendal's own Athen's marathon winner. Westland Moore Gazette (2004-08-24). Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  5. ^ a b Nikitaridis, Michalis (2007-11-02). Athens Classic Marathon celebrates 25th anniversary – PREVIEW. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  6. ^ 15 marathons awarded IAAF Gold Label Road Race certification for year 2011 Archived January 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. RunningSportsHub (2010-10-25). Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  7. ^ a b Athens Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2008-08-18). Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  8. ^ Butcher, Pat (2008-11-09). Athens Marathon record broken by nearly two minutes. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  9. ^ a b Butcher, Pat (2009-11-08). Ngetich, Ozaki prevail in ‘Battle of Marathon’ – Athens Marathon report. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  10. ^ Nikitaridis, Michalis (2006-11-05). Tarus and Ogushi secure Athens Classic Marathon victories. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  11. ^ Butcher, Pat (2008-11-06). Marathon talks, in Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  12. ^ a b Drazdauskaite and Bett beat the heat to make history in Athens. IAAF (2010-10-31). Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  13. ^ Nikitaridis, Michalis (2005-11-06). Saina and Measo are victorious in the Athens Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  14. ^ National Marathon Champions for Greece. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2008-12-21). Retrieved on 2009-11-08.
  15. ^ "Το SolidarityNow Refugee Team τρέχει χιλιόμετρα αλληλεγγύης στον Κλασικό Μαραθώνιο 2016" (in Greek). Huffington Post. November 10, 2016.

External links[edit]