Athens, the Marathon Capital of the World, welcomed its 37th Authentic Marathon, which was extended to two days (9-10 November, 2019) due to the increasing number of participants, turning the entire weekend into a festival of running. Specifically, thousands of runners from all over the world participated in the premium sports event held annually in the Greek capital, making a new record of approximately 60,000 participants.
The maximum number of participants in all of the event’s races, set by the Local Organizing Committee back in January, were reached. More than 20,000 entries in the Authentic (42km) Marathon Race, 12,000 in the 10km Race and 20,000 in the 5km Race were the main core of the 2019 Athens Marathon, while another 8,000 runners, kids and Special Olympics athletes ran the shorter distances (Kids Fun Runs, 3km Race, Special Olympics Fun Run). In total, more than 60,000 runners from 120 countries joined the event, a record total that places the Authentic Marathon among the biggest running events anywhere in the world.
“It is a significant achievement to be able to host 60,000 runners and thousands of spectators from over 100 countries around the world” Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) President Kostas Panagopoulos told reporters during a press conference on Thursday, 7 November 2019.
During the press conference, it was highlighted that the major sports event once again promotes Greece to the rest of the world. As Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, noted “Athens Marathon is not a simple sports event… it combines social activities, culture and tourism”.
But above all, Athens Marathon stands out in terms of sports history, despite the ever-growing number of city races, as runners are returning to the very origin of the event, which was born by a true historic and heroic instance signaling the power of human will. It was a feat accomplished by a news-bearing foot soldier from ancient Athens, Pheidippides, who announced – with his last words – the victory of the Greeks against the Persians during the Marathon Battle in 490 BC.
In modern times, when the first modern Olympic Games were inaugurated in Greece in 1896, the legend of Pheidippides was revived by Greek athlete Spyros Louis, who ran what has since been referred to as the Original Marathon Course from the ancient city of Marathon to the Panathenaikon Stadium in Athens, winning the gold medal and becoming a legend of Greek and international athletics.
This year, Kenyan runner John Kipkorir Komen won the Athens Authentic Marathon for the second time in a row arriving at Panathenaic Stadium after clocking 2 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds. In women’s timing, Eleftheria Petroulaki came first with 2:45:50, her best timing at the event ever.
See more: Athens Marathon results 2019.