October 16, 2014
The worldwide marathon community will celebrate a special race weekend in Athens in November. A gala featuring the 2014 AIMS Best Marathon Runner (BMR) Awards and other honours will take place on 7th November, two days before the Athens Marathon, which was renamed earlier this year to emphasise its unique historic background. The race is now called “Athens Marathon. The Authentic”. The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) has announced that Dennis Kimetto, who broke the world marathon record in Berlin at the end of September, will be the sole candidate for the AIMS Male BMR Award. As far as the women are concerned, the contest remains open with two candidates for the AIMS Female BMR Award: Rita Jeptoo and Florence Kiplagat.
A year ago the inaugural Gala proved to be a great success with around 600 guests present in Athens. The ceremony was shown live on TV by the new state broadcaster, now called NERIT, and received worldwide media attention. On the second weekend of November the stage will again belong to marathon running. Organisers from 60 international races and more than 200 media people have already confirmed their participation in the events.
AIMS and the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS), the organiser of the Authentic Marathon combined to create the inaugural Gala in 2013, thus giving the sport of marathon running a fresh platform with greater international profile. Athens was the natural choice of venue, given its place in marathon history. This is where it all began in 490 BCE with the story of the Athenian soldier-messenger, who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens, bearing news of victory against the invading Persians, but collapsed and died on arrival. At the first Olympics in Athens in 1896 the route the brave Athenian soldier was said to have taken was used for the marathon. The name of the event comes from the village where today’s Athens Marathon is started and where the Olympic races in 2004 began as well: Marathon.
In the relevant period for the AIMS Best Marathon Runner Awards, which goes from 1st October 2013 to 30th September 2014, one athlete has been dominant in the men’s competition: Dennis Kimetto. The Kenyan won the Chicago-Marathon in 2013 with a course record of 2:03:45 and then broke the next marathon barrier in last month’s Berlin Marathon, where he clocked a world record of 2:02:57. After the first sub 2:03 marathon ever Kimetto became the outstanding candidate for the 2014 AIMS BMR Award.
It is different with the women, where AIMS has announced two contenders: Rita Jeptoo and fellow-Kenyan Florence Kiplagat. Jeptoo won the Chicago Marathon 2013 and the Boston Marathon 2014, setting a course record of 2:18:57 in Boston. Kiplagat was second in the highly competitive London Marathon last April. Before that she ran a World Half Marathon record of 65:12 in the Barcelona Half Marathon in February.
Besides the Best Marathon Runner (BMR) Awards, AIMS will again present three special awards for marathon organizers or persons from around the world, the Green, Social and Lifetime Achievement Awards. The winner of this year’s Green Award has already been announced: Germany’s BMW Frankfurt Marathon.
The day following the gala, 60 race directors have already confirmed their participation in the 8th AIMS Marathon Symposium, which has the topic “Adding Value to Your Race”. Along with various local and international dignitaries they are then invited to attend the Opening Ceremony of the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” at the Marathon Tomb that is situated a few kilometres away from the start of the race and marks the mass grave of the Greek soldiers who died in the battle in 490 BCE. A torch of the so-called Marathon Flame will be ignited and then carried by relay runners to the starting point of the Athens Marathon. There the Marathon Flame will burn in a cauldron during race weekend.
On 9th of November, organisers of the Authentic Marathon expect a record number of around 13,000 runners to take on the classic route from Marathon to the Panathenaikon Stadium. More than 40.000 spectators are expected to come to the historic arena to cheer on the runners for their glorious finish. Adding other running events at shorter distances the total number of athletes is expected to rise to 35,000 for the first time.