ATHENS — Felix Kipchirchir Kandie won the Athens Marathon on Nov. 9, setting a new course record of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 37 seconds.
Kandie broke away from compatriot Raymond Kimutai Bett after 35 kilometers to win by nearly two minutes. Bett was timed in 2:12:34.
Josphat Kiptanui Chobei came in third in 2:15:38, 13 seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Julius Kiplagat Korir.
The previous course record was held by Italy’s Stefano Baldini, set at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“This is my first time in this race and I had aimed at a top-three finish. I am ever so happy to have won! The atmosphere here with the fans is so welcoming,” said Kandie, his head covered with a laurel wreath.
Christoforos Merousis from the island of Chios, was the first among the Greeks to win the national championship, for a second year in a row.
Naomi Maiyo was the first among women reaching the finishing line in 2:41:05.
The course was followed by tens of thousands of fans and those who packed the historic Panathenaic Stadium, the finish line for the marathon in the first Modern Olympics in 1896, won by Greece’s Spiridon Louis. Greece’s organizers called the race The Authentic to remind people where it began.
“This is an opportunity for people from the world over to get to visit Athens in November, with visiting rates already on the rise. There are tens of thousands of people who have arrived for the event and every year their number grows. More and more top Marathon runners visit Athens to run the Authentic course following the promotion we have done around the world,” said Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni who attended the finishing of the race.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)