2,500 Years of the Marathon

The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) will mark the 2,500th anniversary of the marathon by holding its 18th Congress in Athens, Greece, from 28-30 October 2010. The event will be organized by the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS), which also organizes the Athens Classic Marathon (ACM) each November along the historic route from the town of Marathon to the city center of Athens.

The Marathon’s Historical Significance

The term ‘marathon’ is globally recognized, deriving from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek soldier who, in 490 BC, ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. Legend says he ran the entire distance without stopping, exclaiming “We won” before collapsing and dying.

Congress Details

Athens won the right to host the Congress over strong bids from Prague, Jungfrau, and Durban. An AIMS Director commented that marking the 2,500th anniversary of the marathon provides a unique opportunity to celebrate a sporting event that has captured global imagination and symbolizes personal health, fitness, and achievement.

The 2010 Congress will coincide with the 4th edition of the AIMS-IAAF Marathon Symposium, held annually in the town of Marathon the day before the Athens Classic Marathon. This symposium addresses current issues in distance running and is open to AIMS members and race directors worldwide.

The Marathon Flame

Since 2007, SEGAS, in collaboration with AIMS and the town of Marathon, has created the “Marathon Flame.” Lit annually at the Tomb of Marathon the day before the Athens Classic Marathon, the flame travels to various events worldwide, symbolizing the sport’s rich history. For those interested in having the Marathon Flame visit their city or event, contact the Hellenic Athletics Federation.

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