Our Kiltimagh based member Paul Brennan ran in the Athens Marathon today.
The event is officially titled The Athens Classic Marathon The Authentic.
The race has a great tradition apart from the historic connection. It started in 1972, two years after the New York City event.
The race starts in the town of Marathon in Greece.
It was the site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE, in which the heavily outnumbered Athenean army defeated the Persians.
Legend has it that Pheidippides a Greek herald at the battle, was sent running from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory, which is how the marathon running race was conceived in modern times.
Over the weekend there were four different races with an estimated 61,000 entries. There were two 10ks on Saturday and the marathon and a 5k on Sunday. About 21,000 undertook the 26.2 miles, 42.195k.
The marathon course was used in the 2004 Athens Olympics. That race provided two infamous moments – the “intervention” of former Irish priest Fr Neil Horan who attacked Brazilian race leader Vanderlei de Lima at the 35k mark, and the failure of the favourite for the women’s race Paula Radcliffe to complete the distance.
Over the first 12k the route is fairly flat. The middle 19k are ‘gentle long hills’, and the final 11k downhill. The finish line is in the famous Panathenaic Stadium – the only one in the world built entirely of marble.
Paul Brennan Mayo AC M50 prepared for Athens with an excellent PB in the National Half-marathon in Tullamore in August.
He finished in 1:37.03 – more than four minutes improvement on his 1:41.45 in the River Moy half-marathon the previous May.
He was among over 20,000 runners who started the race shortly after 7am this morning. The weather was warm and sunny 19° – quite a contrast to the cold rain sweeping across a gloomy Mayo landscape as dawn broke.
He passed the 10k mark in just over 50 minutes – a steady 5:08k pace.
He reached halfway in 1:59.03. But his pace dropped to over 6 min ks in the hilly second half, and with the temperature rising, it became a tough task to complete the distance.
As Paul said afterwards ‘it was very hot, and a hilly course’.
Paul came home in 4:37.27 a credit to him in those conditions. The marathon is not a fun run on any day!
Well done, Paul! There will be other days.