Athens, Nov 10 — Kenyan runner Yego Hillary Kipkogei won the 31st Athens Classic Marathon here Sunday amidst a festive atmosphere across the authentic course.
Kipkogei crossed the finish line at the Panathinaic Stadium in Athens with a time of two hours, 13 minutes and 50 seconds, reports Xinhua.
The 42-km distance from Marathon was first run by legendary Athenian soldier Pheidippides 2,500 years ago.
Kipkogei did not beat the record held by Italian Stephano Baldini since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games (2:10:55), but improved his personal best.
“Athens is my lucky city,” he said inside the marble venue of the first modern Olympics under the warm applause of thousands of spectators.
Kipkogei’s compatriots Kimeli Dicson (2:14:40) and Rutoh David Kipkorir (2:14:47) ranked second and third.
Kenyan Rotich Otich Nancy Joan (2:41:38) won the women’s Marathon, followed by Ukrainian Stanko Svitlana (2:42:03) in the second place and Greek athlete Magda Gazea (2:46:07) in the third.
Greek Sports Federation (SEGAS) President Kostas Panagopoulos said that although Kipkogei did not break the record, there is still much to celebrate – the most important record of participation was broken.
Approximately 31,000 runners from more than 100 countries and regions, took part in this year’s event, creating an amazing image of recession-hit Athens.
“They sent a message of hope to the world,” Athens Mayor Yorgos Kaminis said.
The Athens Classic Marathon Race originates from the historic battle between Greeks and invading Persian forces 2,500 years ago in Marathon.
According to legend, Pheidippides ran from the battlefield to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory and died of exhaustion.
Ever since his name was connected to a feat which has inspired modern Marathons worldwide.