Only few days are left until the 13th of November; a day when Athens celebrates its history. It is said that a Greek soldier, in 490 bc, supposedly ran from Marathon to Athens, a distance of little over 42 km (26 miles), to bring news to the Athenians’ of their victory against the Persians.
The Athens Marathon has a unique place in the marathons listed worldwide, as it is carried out on the authentic marathon route. The starting point of the race is right next to the Marathon Tomb and runs through several municipalities up to the City of Athens ending up in the emblematic Panathenaic Stadium. This year’s race coincides with an important historical anniversary; it is 120 years from the first Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896.
The story of the Marathon’s messenger was later conflated with the story of another Greek soldier, Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to Sparta. Spartathlon is the sporting event commemorating the previous historic fact. Counting 246 km, this ultra-marathon covers a demanding and difficult route, which starts from the Acropolis in Athens and ends up in the city of Sparta. Either you participate or simply attend in order to cheer up the participants, prepare to feel the chills run through your spine.
© Elias Lefas
It would be quite bizarre not to follow the worldwide trend of running, as Greece is the country that gave birth to the Olympic Games. There has been an escalation in race events organised all over Greece and an increase in participants. Road running in city centres with races from 5 to 10km; adventurous trail running in Greece’s nature with some breathtaking elevation; semi-marathons and marathons as well as ultra-marathons are conducted every year in Greece, in which renown athletes participate.
Run Greece is a special event series which has been introduced by the Greek Athletics Federation (SEGAS) in accordance with Prefectures and Municipalities around Greece. These events have turned out in being a celebration of a healthy lifestyle and a chance to gather up people of all ages and physical levels, in order to get them in shape and running.
Races are organised all year round. On the islands of the Aegean to the Ionian Sea, on Crete, in the Peloponnese and in the mainland north or south, you name it, people flock to these events wanting to live a day like an athlete, trying hard to overcome their own set goals. Either you feel like running up the Olympus trail to great the Gods or simply want to run any ordinary race, Greece has one that will suit you, so next time you visit, make sure to combine your vacation with some athletic event. Experience the rejuvenating sense of exercising your body which simultaneously (as ancient Greeks used to say) trains your mind.