Time is counting down for this year’s 40th anniversary edition of the Authentic Athens Marathon which takes place on Monday- the route that Feidippides ran in 490 BC to announce the victory of the Greeks against the Persians during the Marathon Battle.
More than 70,000 runners from 140 countries, both record numbers, have registered to run either the classic route or the various other parallel road races hosted this weekend in the region of Attica.
All the routes finish at the Panathenaic Stadium, where the 1st Olympic Games of Modern Era were held in 1896.
About one in four participants comes from abroad. One of them is the Ethiopian Ermias Ayele, who said to Euronews that he intends to run the 42,195 meters without shoes.
“I came here for the Athens marathon to do the Marathon bearfoot. I’m doing this for two reasons. One is because I was to honour the fathers of Ethiopian athletics, including Abebe Bikila” says Ermias Ayele, General Manager at Great Ethiopian Run. “As you know Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Rome Olympics and a year later, in 1961, he came to Athens and he run the Athens Classic Marathon bearfoot. So I want to honour him. And personaly as well for me, because the Athens Marathon in Greece is the birthplace of the Marathon” added Ayele.
The revenues for the Greek economy are estimated at about 45 million euros just from the visitors of the Greek capital, only for this event. The occupancy in the hotels this weekend has so far reached 97%.
Olga Kefalogianni, Greek Minister of Tourism says this is good for the economy”. This sports event is also a great tourist event. Thousands of people from all over the world are gathering in Athens and have the opportunity not only to run in the Authentic marathon but also to have the experience of a city like Athens with it’s huge and long history” Kefalogianni said.
Ioannis Vroutsis, Greek Minister of Sports wants the message spread across the world. “The message that has to be sent all over the world is that anyone who loves sports and especially the Marathon, which is a global brand name, has at least for once in his or her lifetime to come and try to run the real, the classic, the authentic Marathon here in Greece”
And it’s not only the Marathon for the elite athletes.
There are also various other parallel road races hosted this weekend in Athens with thousends of participants, including races for children. The 40th edition of the Authentic Athens Marathon takes place on Sunday November 12.
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