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Athens Marathon to go ahead with up to 30,000 competitors

Athens could be one of the only mass-participation events this fall

Top view of Panathenaic Stadium in Athens

The Athens Marathon is set to take place this November 7 and 8 and host up to 30,000 runners over the course of the weekend. The event was first run at the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the present-day race retraces (as closely as possible) the steps of Pheidippides, who’s believed to have delivered news of the victory in the battle of Marathon. 

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While the event will go mostly as planned, there will be several health precautions. Most notably, waves of the marathon will start one hour apart. The 42.2K will have two starts of 5,000 runners each, called Marathon A and Marathon B. Marathon B will start an hour after Marathon A. Combined with the weekend’s other events, organizers are expecting to see a total of 30,000 competitors. 

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The event also won’t be inviting any foreign elite athletes, but will allow non-Greeks to compete provided they’re abiding by their government’s travel rules. 

The Athens Marathon could be one of the only mass road races to run this fall. With the calendar initially packed with five of the six World Majors, four have cancelled already (Boston, New York, Berlin and, most recently, Chicago). London is the only World Major that continues to hold on, but they told The Telegraph on Monday that they’re concerned about the ability to run a race in both 2020 and 2021. “The team at London Marathon Events has been looking at the logistics of the Virgin Money London Marathon and coming up with innovative ways to socially distance the event,” Brasher wrote. “We still don’t know whether we will be able run together, walk together and be together on that journey of 26.2 miles on October 4.” They said the final announcement will come July 28. 

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