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30,000 participants in this year's Athens Classic Marathon

23 September 2013 / 17:09:05  GRReporter
4970 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The 31st Athens Classic Marathon will take place on 10 November. The total number of the participants in all races, namely the classic marathon or the 42 kilometres race from the village of Marathonas to Athens and the road races of 5 kilometres and 10 kilometres is 30,000 as announced by the organizers at a special press conference on the preparation of the event. No entries for the 5 kilometres race are available three weeks before the registration deadline and there is even a waiting list.

According to Costas Panagopoulous, chairman of the board of the Hellenic Amateur Athletic Association, SEGAS, "This puts the Athens Classic Marathon among the major sporting events of its kind in the world."

The data show that the interest in the event is growing each year. The number of foreign participants has increased by 13% this year in comparison with 2013. At the same time, the number of Greek participants in the classic race has increased in recent years and from 800 a few years ago now it is between 6 and 7 thousand.

This year's major sporting event will mark the beginning of a new tradition. Marathon runners from all over the world will arrive in Greece and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, AIMS, will award the best male and female among them. From this year onwards, the ceremony will take place in the homeland of the sports discipline on an annual basis. According to the programme, this year’s nominees will be awarded on 8 November.

The 31st edition of the marathon has introduced other changes in its organization too. In order to avoid the concentration of a large number of people at the starting and finish points at Panathinaikos stadium, the organizers have introduced the following changes:

- The 5 kilometres road race will start from Amalias Avenue at the entrance to the Zapeion at 8 am.

- The 10 kilometres road race will start from the same place at 09:05 am.

- The participants will enter Panathinaikos stadium from the rear. "Although the decision has been taken for purely operational reasons, it restores the historical truth as the first winner of this discipline in the modern Olympic Games, Spyros Louis, had entered Panathinaikos stadium from the rear," explained the organizers.

They pointed out that along with the local authorities in Athens and the Greek Tourism Organisation EOT they are working on a project to attract tourists to the Greek capital during the days of the marathon. It includes parallel activities such as concerts, theatre performances and other events in addition to the visits to museums and archaeological sites, which will encourage the participants and the people around them to stay in Athens for a few days after the race.

The organizers also said they are considering the introduction of a "ceiling" of the number of participants in the classic race. According to the chairman of SEGAS, Costas Panagopoulous, the existing infrastructure allows the participation of around 12,500 people. The association urged those wishing to participate in the marathon to register in the spring in order for them to ensure their participation in the sporting event.

Tags: SportsAthens Classic MarathonParticipantsTourism
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