Did you know? The origin of the marathon lies in Greece!
The history of the Marathon began 490 years before Christ, when the running messenger Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta in two days to look for help in the war against the Persians. Hundreds of years later, this gave rise to the rumour that a runner had covered the 40 kilometres to Athens after the Battle of Marathon to report the Athenian victory. After his message "We have won", he is said to have collapsed dead.
It was not until 1890, after excavations, that the legend of Pheidippides was recalled. At the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896, the first marathon was to be run in honour of Pheidippides. Thus, in the run-up to the Olympic Games, the first marathons were completed, which had a course length of around 40 kilometres. At the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, the course length was exactly 40 kilometres. The classic marathon distance of 42.195 kilometres was run for the first time in 1908.
The biggest running events in Greece
In view of its historical significance, the largest marathon event in Greece has been held in Athens every year since 1983. The course of the Athens Classic Marathon also leads from Marathon to Athens to the Panathinaiko Stadium. On the very demanding course, one should not expect great times. In view of the marathon's great history, however, the event is still one of the most popular marathons in Europe. Around 20,000 run the marathon every year. The race is always held towards the end of the year in November.
In any case, there are many sporting events in Greece that build on the country's long history. There is, for example, the Alexander the Great Marathon in Thessaloniki or the Spartathlon. The latter is a legendary ultra-run with a distance of almost 250 kilometres. It is one of the most famous, but also most demanding ultras in the world.
All Running Races in Greece (sorted by date) can be found in the following overview: