Running a marathon in Athens, Greece

Spectacular running routes

A trip away does not have to mean that your running is neglected. Why not take advantage of your travel opportunities by running on one of the world's best running routes?

Distance: 5k race, 10k race, or marathon race (26.2 miles).

Legend has it that the messenger Phiedippides brought news of victory from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens almost 2,500 years ago – and you can now follow in his footsteps by taking on the challenge yourself! The Athens Marathon takes place in early November, meaning that conditions will be far less harsh than for the Olympians who had to tackle the same course in 2004 in blistering heat.

The start is in the town of Marathon, and the finish line is in Athens’ magnificent Olympic Stadium, the Panathinaiko Stadium. Generally speaking, the first 7.5 miles (12km) are level; the next 12 miles are gentle long hills; and the final 6 miles or so are downhill. The course follows a rather circular route around the War Memorial for those that fought during the Battle of Marathon. The most difficult part is the steep ascent from the Gerakas area up to the Stavros Junction at around the 18.5 miles (30km) point.

Top tip: If you’re not quite up to doing the full marathon, which admittedly is a difficult course, there also a 10k and 5k races which start at the stadium, go out into Athens, and then return to finish inside the stadium. If you’re traveling with family members, the 5k and 10k races are open to people aged 12 upwards – and so these races might be ideal for your family.

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