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Kenyan Raymond Bett won the 30th Athens Marathon

11 November 2012 / 18:11:30  GRReporter
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Kenyan Raymond Kimutai Bett won the anniversary 30th Athens Marathon, attended by a record number of athletes, 26,000. The 28 year-old athlete, who also won the marathon in 2010, improved his personal achievement with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 35 seconds. This time is also a record of the tournament - the current record was held by last year's winner, Abdelkerim Boubker - 2:11:39. And the record of the classic marathon is owned by Olympic champion from Athens 2004, Italian Stefano Baldini, who ran the distance in 2:10:55.

Two years ago, Bett also won a jubilee race - 2,500 years since the Battle of Marathon. Then, he promised to return to the classic race. He also participated last year and this year he is the winner again. At Fidipidou Street, Bett broke away from his compatriot Alex Soumko Kipoui, who later lost the second place at the Panathinaikon Stadium, when Paul Kibet Kosgei got ahead of him. The winner said that the competition was tough, highly competitive, and promised that if he is well, he will compete again next year.

The first Greek winner of the Greek marathon championship was Michalis Parmakis in 2010 with a time of 2:21:56.

Meanwhile, it became clear that the 60-year-old athlete, participant in the 10 kilometre race, which was held in parallel with the marathon, has died. He stopped running and was taken by an ambulance to hospital where he later passed away. The organizers expressed their deep regret over the event.

Because of the marathon, a lot of streets in central Athens were closed, as well as several subway stations.

In parallel with the classic marathon, races were also held for different distances: 5 km, 10 km. A Paralympics race of 1,000 metres and a 700 m running race for children also took place.

The torch for the marathon was lit a day before the race. The ceremony was attended by many celebrities from the sports and political world, as well as by Mikis Theodorakis, who was the guest of honour. The great Greek composer was the first to receive the lit torch at the Hill of Marathon.

In connection with the organization of the Athens Classic Marathon, the Marathon Archaeological Complex became a world centre of marathon running. It showed exhibitions of the reasons for this event, the Battle of Marathon, and the mythical soldier who ran the distance, the city and the Hill of Marathon, the first Olympic marathon in 1896, the connection of the marathon with Greece and the Olympic Movement, the authentic route.

The origin of the marathon is related to Pheidippides, a Greek herald. According to the story, after the battle of Marathon, Miltiades sent Pheidippides, who was considered the fastest runner in the Athenian army, to go to Athens to announce the victory over the Persians. It is said that he ran the distance without a break and entered a meeting of the Athenian Parliament, where he called "Victory!" before dying of exhaustion. This story was first described by Plutarch in the story "On the glory of Athens" in the 1st century BC, where he mentions the lost work of Heraclides Ponticus, who called the runner Tersipos or Evklis. In the 2nd century BC Lucian told the same story, however, calling the runner Pheidippides. In ancient times there was no sports discipline "marathon". The idea of this competition and its inclusion in the modern Olympic Games was given by French Hellenist Michel Breal, a friend of Pierre de Coubertin. The first Olympic Marathon was held on March 29, 1896. It started at the Hill in Marathon, followed the probable route and ended at the Olympic Stadium Panathinaikon. During the race, the leaders changed and after the mid-distance, the lead was taken by Greek runners. When it became clear that Greek Spiros Louis was the leader, the then heir to the throne, Konstantinos, awaited him at the end of the route and accompanied him as an honorary escort to the finishing line of the stadium. The time of the winner was 2:58:50. Pierre de Coubertin told Spiros Louis "Today you wrote history."

Tags: Athens marathon Raymond Bett Pheidippides Spiros Louis Mikis Theodorakis
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