The 40th Athens Marathon the Authentic kicked off on Saturday morning with the opening ceremony at the Marathon Monument followed by the 10K Marathon in Athens.
The actual Authentic Athens Marathon will take place on Sunday, but the competition program opened with the 10 km road race.
Every November, thousands of athletes from all over the world come to compete in Athens.
The start for the 10K run was given on Amalia Avenue at Syntagma Square as the city center was filled with thousands of runners of all ages and many nationalities.
The public interest is expected to peak on Sunday morning as thousands again will compete for the trophy of the 40th Authentic Athens Marathon.
The National Observatory of Athens weather report says that Sunday’s weather will be ideal for a marathon run:
Scattered clouds will alternate with long periods of sunshine and temperatures will range between 14 and 21 degrees Celsius (57-70 F), while moderate westerly winds will appear for most of the time of the route. There will be a relative increase in humidity.
Thousands more anticipate Sunday’s big event, the real Authentic Athens Marathon, the 42.195 kilometers (26 miles) run from the Monument at Marathon to the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.
Story of the Marathon Run
The Athens Marathon the Authentic that was established 40 years ago commemorates the historic run of Athenian soldier Pheidippides who ran from the battlefield at Marathon to tell the Athenians “Νενικήκαμεν” (Joy to you, we’ve won) in 490 BC.
They were his last words before he died of exhaustion.
According to Herodotus, known as the Father of History, Pheidippides did a much more extraordinary feat. He had run from Marathon to Sparta and back – a distance of over 300 miles- to seek Spartan help in defeating the invading Persians.
The great poet Robert Browning, also honored him in the poem “Pheidippides.”
So, when Persia was dust, all cried, “To Acropolis!
Run, Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!
Athens is saved, thank Pan, go shout!” He flung down his shield
ran like fire once more: And the space ‘twixt the fennel-field
and Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
’till in he broke: “Rejoice, we conquer!” Like wine through clay,
joy in his blood bursting his heart – the bliss!
The marathon run we know so well today was the manner in which his Greek compatriots past and present sought to pay homage to him for the noble sacrifice he made.