• Athens celebrates 2,500th anniversary of the marathon


    The city of Athens is celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon on October 31 with a traditional race along the track of the original course in which a record 12,500 runners will participate.

    The Greek National Tourism Organization, a sponsor of the event, hopes to educate people about the origins of the marathon and even attract tourism to Greece, the Associated Press reports.

    Nicolas Kanellopoulos, the head of the tourism organization, said "Not every marathon runner dreams of running the classic course ... That is something we're working to change."

    The news source reports that not all are as enthusiastic about attracting more runners to the annual event, however. The head of Greece’s Amateur Athletic Association said the number of runners this year is twice what it was in 2008 and has reached a limit due to lack of space along the race route.

    Furthermore, the prize money given in the event has been limited this year due to Greece’s recent financial crisis, and only about 20 of the 12,500 runners will be elite professionals, the news provider reports.

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