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Thousands run in first post-pandemic Athens Marathon; Greece’s Gelaouzos wins with a record

Greek runner Costas Gelaouzos won the 38th Athens Marathon in 2 hours 16 minutes 49 seconds on Sunday leading a sweep of the podium places by home competitors.The race resumed this year after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.

TheGreek athlete broke the 17-year national record. After the Finish and a few sips of water, a bright smiling Costas Gelaouzos raised the flag of Panathinaikos.

There were 9,558 runners from 83 couintris registered to line up at the start in the village of Marathon, less than half the record 20,041 who ran in the previous race in 2019. And there was a notable absence of elite international athletes.

Gelaouzos, 31, had finished third in 2019. This time, he set a personal best for this particular race, where times are slowed by the demanding, hilly course.

The course record, 2:10:34 is held by Kenya’s Felix Kipchirchir Kandie, set in 2014. Kenyan runners have won the race 16 times since 2001.

The runner up, Panagiotis Bourikas, was more than five minutes behind Gelaouzo, in 2:22:33, followed by Haralambos Pitsolis in 2:24:05.

Greece’s Gloria-Tziovana Privilegio won the women’s race in 2:41:30, nearly seven minutes ahead of her closest rival. She was 23rd overall.

The start of the race is near the battlefield where Athenians and their allies beat a far larger Persian army in 490 BC. Legend has it that a messenger who ran the distance to Athens to announce the victory died upon arrival.

There were also smaller distance races taking place on Sunday.

Participants on the small and long races were proud for their achievement, and some for running for the sake of good purpose.

sources: AP, Twitter

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