33rd Athens Marathon-The Authentic: A Multicultural Celebration of Human Will
The final countdown is over. Last Sunday, on the 8th of November, the biggest sporting event of the year took place back to its birthplace, Athens.
This year people wore big smiles despite economic difficulties and laced their shoes to run or watch the Athens Marathon beyond every expectation. Over 43.000 runners both from Greece and from more than 100 countries of the world applied to the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) and took part in the Classic Marathon and the 5 and 10 km races breaking any previous participation record. Children could not be absent from this huge celebration; there was a race exclusively for children.
Hajakari Minori from Japan was the first of the women to finish the Classic Marathon (2.52.06), whereas Christoforos Mesaris from Greece finished first of all men (2.21.22).
Behind the event…
The Original Athens Classic Marathon was instituted in memory of Pheidippides, an Athenian soldier and herald. Prior to the battle of Marathon (490 BC), Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta and back, running a distance of more than 245.000 km in two days, to seek help. But help was denied. Having fought in the battle of Marathon himself, he ran from the fields of Marathon to the city of Athens (42 km) to announce their decisive victory against the Persians. After that last message being successfully delivered, Pheidippides collapsed and died.
Thanks to the battle of Marathon a series of the Persian Empire’s attempts to enslave Greece came to an end and their outnumbering forces were driven out of the country.
Therefore, the Athens Marathon is a lot more than a tough race for runners. It is actually a strong reminder that human will is above all powers. Along with faith in the values of freedom and companionship it can overcome body limitations, and by extension any obstacle.
Even if the 42 km race is too heavy for you, you can still watch it, take photos, meet people from all over the world and mostly… let it inspire you!