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Friday, October 22, 2010

Ultramarathon Jurgen Mennel marks 2,500th anniversary of Battle of Marathon

   German ultramarathon veteran Jurgen Mennel arrived at the ancient Kallimarmaro (Panathenian) Stadium in Athens, venue of the first Modern Olympic Games, on Thursday after running 2,200 kilometers from Strasbourg in 30 days in his own personal tribute to the 2,500th anniversary of the historic 490 BC Battle of Marathon, covering more than 70 kilometers per day.

    The 50-year-old long distance runner, a social worker from Heibronn, was a member of the German national ultramarathon team that won the silver medal at the World Championships in 1990 in the 100 kilometers category.

    Mennel, who set off from Strasbourg on September 22, was greeted on arrival at the Kallimarmaro by Greece's Culture and Tourism Minister in a special ceremony.

    This year marks the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, and the 28th annual Athens Classic Marathon slated to take place on October 31 with a record number of runners.

    Indeed, a record 12,500 runners, more than double the previous record in 2008, have signed up for the 2010 Classical Marathon, which has been called "the race of the century" by Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) executive board member Horst Milde, while another 8,000 runners have registered for the parallel 10-kilometer (4,500 entrants) and 5-kilometer road races (3,500 entrants).

    The 42-kilometer Classic Marathon is based on the legendary run carried out by the ancient hoplite Pheidippides who ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to the ancient city of Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the Persians and traces the actual route he is believed to have taken. Pheidippides' effort inspired the modern Marathon event, which covers roughly the same distance as that between Marathon and central Athens and was created for the first-ever modern Olympic Games of 1896

More at ANA-MPA

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