Greeks dominate Athens Marathon as top foreign runners stay away

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Konstantinos Gkelaouzos, won the 38th Athens Marathon, from the town of Marathon to the Panathenaic stadium (AFP/Louisa GOULIAMAKI)

Konstantinos Gkelaouzos won the 38th Authentic Athens Marathon race on Sunday in an event dominated by Greek runners as top foreign athletes snubbed the spectacle.

The 31-year-old runner timed 2hrs 16 min 49sec, the fasted time ever recorded by a Greek on the 42km course, breaking the old mark set in 2004 by Nikos Polias in the Athens Olympics in 2:17.56.

Second was Panagiotis Mpourikas in 2:22.33 and third was Charalampos Pistolis in 2:24.05, both from Greece.

The first woman across the finish line was Greece’s Gloria-Tziovan Privilegio who was 26th overall with a time of 2:41.30.

The marathon returned after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic with 2,555 participants from dozens of countries but without any of the top runners.

According to legend, the 42km route from Marathon to Athens was first run by Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger who in 490BC dashed to the city to announce victory over the Persians, before dying of exhaustion.

Run on a four-lane concrete avenue through the urban districts of east Athens with a finish at the all-marble Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the 1896 Olympics, the gruelling race is a challenge for runners as much of it is uphill.

le/dmc

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