One of our club, Mel, ran at the recent Athens marathon and did a great report for us!
I finally got the chance to run this historic Authentic Athens marathon the original course yesterday 14 November 2021, after months of contemplation.
This is how the day started…there was organised transport for all runners to the marathon start point, which was about 28 miles away. Runners were collected from various stations from Athens city between 05.30am -0645am EET. This was way too early, not complaining .. we arrived at the Marathon Run Museum at 7.10am. The marathon started from 9am with various starting times depending on which race and block you were in.
Bib numbers were collected from the Wednesday until the day before the race at Faliro Expo, I picked mine up the day before the race, Omg is all I can say, loved it. This expo made it so real, we had a chance of watching the course on video from start to finish, (not sure if this was a great idea) explaining to runners on what to expect en route . I should admit it, this was a bit daunting for me, yet exciting. At the Expo they served bolognese and a variety of pasta, most runners eat pasta the night before the race, right ! Well I do. This was a disaster, we were up most of the night and only slept for 2hours, word of advice please do not eat any cooked food from the expo.
Come Sunday Race day at 5.30am contemplating messages were back and forth on whether to bin the race or not. I was definitely not having this and I vowed to even crawl to the finish line if I had too.
The race started at the Marathon Run Museum , yes that’s right MRM. The first 7.4 miles is flat and the middle 11miles is (undulating) a gentle long uphill ha, this is the most difficult part of the course, I mean climbing. The final 6 miles is downhill with some elevation here and there heading towards the magnificent Olympic stadium. The finish was just Fab, in the historic stadium.
What’s not to like about this course, it’s the original course that’s what makes it so unique and the history behind it. The support en route was amazing from start to finish. The fuelling stations were great, with all sorts of goodies to cater for all, even those with allergies : sports drinks, different brands of gels, bananas and mixed nuts, even the last runner stilled managed to grab a gel, banana or what ever they wanted. My experience from running other marathons the slow runners tend to miss out as the speedy grab all or just not well stocked to cater for all.
The support on this course was amazing and there was live music, DJs blasting all sorts of music and drummers. The crowd was great and very friendly. Initially I was really worried about support given the language barrier, but this was not the case, I was very surprised and have so much respect for the Greek #headbowed. I could not understand a single word and all I heard was Bravo Bravo blah blah my response was just a big smile /grin considering the course and a . Ohh some even called my name which was very nice , very friendly bunch. You got to love running.
The weather was just perfect for the day, it was over cast and highly recommend shorts this time of the year.
Overall, this was a well organised race and I loved it, even though I have a love /hate relationship with this course. I thoroughly enjoyed this run and i will do it again. I just love a well stocked goodie bag… I highly recommend this marathon :9/10
Learn m ore about the marathon’s history here : https://www.history.com/news/the-olympic-marathons-outlandish-early-history