A Marathon (or half Marathon) Race is an event that takes place in order to commemorate the Marathon Battle which took place back in 490 BC between Greeks and Persians . The Greeks won and after the battle they sent a soldier from Marathon to Athens to announce the good news of Victory. This soldier the very first Marathon runner , named Pheidipidis , when he arrived to town he cried out ” rejoice we have won” Chareite Nenikikamen ” in Greek and collapsed. In the First Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 we first had a Marathon race by which the Greek man Spyros Louis won . It is after him that the main road by the Olympic Complex in Athens is named.
If you are visiting Athens on the 20th of May then there is a rather special way to see the city by running the Acropolis Half Marathon. This is the first time this race will take place in Athens in the particlar course and it promises to be one quite spectacular event.
The classic Marathon race which is the original one, among 1600 Marathon races taking place every year around the world , takes place in the middle of November and it starts exactly on the spot the Marathon battle took place and ends at the Panathinaikon Stadium
The course of the Acropolis Half Marathon starts from the Panathinaikon Stadium where the first modern Olympic games were held in 1896, moves towards the Hilton Hotel and the American Embassy, turns towards Alexandras street where it continues for all its length, then towards Omonoia Square. It continues towards Syntagma square and then down towards Dionysiou Areopagitou Str passing on the South Side of the Acropolis and finally it ends back on the Panathinaikon Stadio – where the Athens Classic Marathon also ends. . As the race is not completely flat the difficulty of the course is characterised as medium.
However, if the 21.1km sounds a bit long for you there is also an 8km race and a 3km and 700m race taking place that day (the last two races for kids). It is expected that more than 3000 people will be running on the streets of central Athens that day so it will be a day of fun and celebration.
For further information on the Acropolis Half Marathon you can check the race website – where you can also register to take part.