The streets of Athens were filled with more than 50,000 runners taking part in the 34th Athens Authentic Marathon this Sunday, which was dedicated to the memory of Grigoris Lambrakis.
Spotted among them were many politicians and MPs attempting the shorter 5km run, including Potami Party leader Stavros Theodorakis, Democratic Alliance MP and former minister Andreas Loverdos and New Democracy MP and former minister Adonis Georgiadis.
The runners were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of some 20,000 people when they arrived at the finishing line at the Kallimarmaron Stadium in central Athens at the end of the race.
First to cross was Kenya’s Luka Rotich Lobuwan with a time of 2:12:49.
Christoforos Merousis was the first Greek to finish the men’s race, coming in 10th with a time of 2:24:58.
The first woman across the line was Kenya’s Nancy Jebichi Arusei, with a time of 2:38:13, while Greece’s Ourania Rebouli came third with a time of 2:49:23.
Shortly before the race finished, the Greek athletics federation SEGAS and the Hellenic Olympic Committee had received Greece’s entire Olympic team at the stadium as part of an event held to mark the 120th anniversary since the first modern Olympic Games, which had also included the first-ever Marathon race.
The head of the team Lefteris Petrounias entered, carrying the Olympic flag, surrounded by fellow medallists Anna Korakaki, Spyros Gianniotis and other members of the team as soprano Sonia Theodoridou sung the Olympic Hymn.
This year’s marathon also included a marriage proposal, between a couple from Belgium that both ran the race together. Just minutes after they had both crossed the finish line, he pulled out a diamond ring, knelt down and popped the question, to enthusiastic applause from onlookers when she said ‘yes’. The couple later revealed that they already have three children but hadn’t made up their minds to “make it official” before this.
The Authentic Course is considered to be a tough one, beginning in Marathon at 9 a.m. the runners are faced with steep slopes as they head towards Nea Makri and a flatter course.
As they traverse Rafina the course hits its peak of difficulty in the 20th kilometer as athletes find the course heading uphill once more.
Eventually, they find their way into the city center, heading down Hrodou Attikou Street where they see their goal: the Panathenaic Stadium.