09 NOV 2008 General News Marathon, Greece

The marathon spirit grows and expands throughout the world - AIMS Symposium

Maria Polizou and Hiroaki Chosa lightning the 'Marathon Fire’ in Marathon (Victah Sailer)Maria Polizou and Hiroaki Chosa lightning the 'Marathon Fire’ in Marathon (Victah Sailer) © Copyright

Adding value to your marathon’ was the topic of the 2nd Marathon Symposium of the Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) held in Marathon on Saturday (8).

The Symposium took place on the day before the 26th Athens Classic Marathon which will feature more than 10,000 runners (including those running shorter distances) Sunday (9). A large number of Race Directors from around the globe came to Marathon to participate in the Symposium.

The Athens Classic Marathon traditionally leads from Marathon to Athens. It was there where the story of the classic race began back in 1896. And of course the idea of the marathon origins from the legend of Pheidipidis, who is said to have run the distance from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory against the Persians in 490BC.

The former battlefield today is a tomb, called Marathon Tomb. And this was the venue for a ceremony on Saturday.

“As the marathon spirit grows and expands throughout the world I feel that humanity should pay tribute to Greece, Marathon and Athens for their symbolism and historic value as the birth place of the ancient Olympic Games, which were later revived in modern times in this same country,” stated Hiroaki Chosa the President of AIMS from Japan.

Together with Maria Polizou (Greek marathon record holder with 2:33:40) Hiroaki Chosa was later to light the ‘Marathon Fire’, which was brought to the starting point of Sunday’s race by a torch relay. Children covered the distance of approximately three kilometres from the Marathon Tomb to Marathon.

Additionally at the starting point of the Athens Classic Marathon a stone was unveiled, which was found at the former starting point of the Olympic Marathon in 1896. It carries the figure 40, which marks the distance of 40 kilometres the marathon runners had to cover at the first Olympics.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF