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Athens Olympic Stadium 1896

Athens Marathon is set for 'two-wave' start

'The Authentic' Athens Marathon 2020 is on schedule for November

The historic Marathon to Athens point-to-point course, as used for the first-ever Olympic Marathon on 29 March 1896, will once again be thronged with athletes on Sunday, 8 November after the marathon dubbed 'The Authentic' was authorised to go ahead, with a two-wave start.

With the autumn marathon calendar looking increasingly sparse, Athens could be one of the few major city races taking place. Greece has fared well throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and holidaymakers are returning, including those on direct flights starting again from the UK from today (15 July).

The innovative start will see two waves of 5,000 runners each, separated by one hour, set off from Marathon Bridge towards the fabulous marble Athens Panathenaic Stadium (pictured). Overseas runners will be welcomed but there will be no elite athlete invitations this year.

In other changes, the supporting 10K on 7 November will also adopt the two-wave start, with 5,000 in each section, as will the ZERO WASTE FUTURE 5K held on marathon Sunday. The originally scheduled Kids Run and Special Olympics Run will not be held this year.     

Sports Tours International's trip for 2020 is already fully sold but you can still register for the 2021 waiting list here. This is surely everyone's bucket list 26.2 miler, running in the footsteps of Athenian herald Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of victory in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) before expiring!

The winner of the Athens Olympic Marathon in 1896 was Greek legend Spyridon Louis (2:58:50) and the current champions from the 37th modern Athens Authentic Marathon were John Kipkorir Komen (Kenya, 2:16:34) and Eleftheria Petroulaki (Greece, 2:39:00). 

Italy’s Olympic Marathon Champion from Athens 2004, Stefano Baldini (48), returned and recorded 2:57:07 to finish 99th overall. There were 16,438 finishers at 8:30:22 and the leading British athletes were Alex Cruttenden (Brighton Phoenix, 2:49:02) and Victoria Crawford (Serpentine, 3:19:16). 

All the race details are at the Athens Authentic Marathon website here

Image courtesy Athens Authentic Marathon

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