- CNTV English - CCTV News

Kenyan Bett wins Athens Classic Marathon with record participation

11-11-2012 20:48 BJT

by Maria Spiliopoulou

ATHENS, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Raymond Kimutai Bett won on Sunday the 30th Athens Classic Marathon which was marked with a new record participation for the authentic course of 26,000 elite athletes and ordinary citizens from 100 countries worldwide.

Bett covered the 42 kilometers distance from the Marathon Tomb to Athens first run by Greek legendary soldier Pheidippides 25 centuries ago, in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 40 seconds.

It was the second time in two years he crossed first the finish line inside the Panathinaikon stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.

He did not manage to break the record held by Italian Stephano Baldini since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games (2:10:55'), but still he was greeted with warm applause by thousands spectators, as well as Kenyan athlete Consalater Chemtai Yadaa who won the women's Marathon race at 2:40:07.

Under blue sky on a sunny day in Athens the crowd celebrated the feat of each participant with similar enthusiasm, since for Greek organizers "winners are all participants."

Approximately 9,500 runners followed this year the steps of Pheidippides who according to legend in 490 B.C. announced the victory of Greeks over Persians forces in the Marathon battlefield and died of exhaustion.

Thousands more competed in shorter distance races in the historic centre of the Greek capital. Entire families with parents pushing baby trolleys, white-haired pensioners, Special Olympics athletes and local celebrities promoting social awareness for various causes, joined the ten and five kilometer courses.

Among them was Despoina Layonika, a Greek customs clearer, who ran the 5 kilometer race, encouraged by her brother Christos.

"It is the first time I compete and I am overwhelmed. I could not imagine the extent of participation. The atmosphere is great," she told Xinhua at the marble Panathinaikon stadium.

"The race as race, noble rivalry and participation - that is the message," she added, when asked what she will keep in mind and heart from this day.

Greek policeman Nikiforos Tsihlakis is a fan of the Marathon for years. He has taken part in several races in Athens and abroad.

"For Greece the Marathon race is something unique, because it started from here and this stadium is unique. I have participated in other marathons across the globe, but the Athens Marathon course is different," he told Xinhua, shortly after finishing the 10 kilometer course.

Christos called on citizens of the world to take part in the authentic course at least once in their lives, if possible. Otherwise, "take up running and sports wherever" they can.

"The Marathon race and in general sports have a lot to offer to people and Greeks who are facing significant difficulties this period, due to the economic crisis... The Marathon is a way to leave problems behind," he stressed, referring to the crisis which has hit hard Greece and global economy over the past three years.

The Athens Classic Marathon race is dedicated to the memory of Grigoris Lambrakis, a Balkan Games Champion, member of Greek parliament and pacifist who in 1963 organized the first Athens Peace Marathon march on the steps of Pheidippides and was assassinated shortly afterwards.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program