Costas Gelaouzos became the fastest Greek over the classic Marathon course on Sunday, winning the 38th Athens Marathon in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 49 seconds.
The previous best time by a Greek athlete over this difficult, hilly course 2:17:56 by Nikos Polias, who finished 24th at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Polias was among those congratulating Gelaouzos at the Panathenaic Stadium.
Panagiotis Bourikas was the runner-up 2:22:33 and yet another Greek, Haralambos Pitsolis was third with 2:24:05.
Gloria Privileggio won the women’s race in 2:41:30, followed by Katerina Assimakopoulou in 2:48:12 and Vassiliki Konstantopoulou was third in 2:51:32.
The scheduling this year – the first after a hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic – included 5km and 10km races on Saturday and Sunday, with all three split into two running groups starting slightly apart for health safety reasons.
There were 9,558 runners registered to line up at the start in the village of Marathon, less than half the record 20,041 who ran in the previous race in 2019. And there was a notable absence of elite international athletes.
The course record, 2:10:34 is held by Kenya’s Felix Kipchirchir Kandie, set in 2014. Kenyan runners have won the race 16 times since 2001.
The start of the race is near the battlefield where Athenians and their allies beat a far larger Persian army in 490 BC. Legend has it that a messenger who ran the distance to Athens to announce the victory died upon arrival.
A total of 27,800 runners of 100 different nationalities from 83 countries were registered in both the Athens road races and the Marathon races, the organizers announced. Of these, 81% were Greek nationals and 19% foreign ones. [Kathimerini/AP/AMNA]