From: Saturday, November 3 2007, 8:00 pm
to: Sunday, November 4 2007, 6:59 pm
Most of the world's major cities have an annual marathon, but Athens hosts the original. Commemorating the famous run of the soldier Pheidippides in 490BC, the 42-kilometre (26.2-mile) race begins at the town of Marathon itself and ends up at the Panathenaic Stadium.
For those unsure about whether they can last the whole 42 kilometres of the main race, there are also 10km and 5km road races. Participants must be 18 or older to compete.
The tradition of the marathon began with Pheidippides' running from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news that the Greeks had defeated the Persians. On arrival, the exhausted soldier apparently gasped the word "Victory!" and dropped dead. The modern tradition began in Athens in 1896 with the revival of the Olympic Games.
Nowadays, the run begins at the ancient battlefield of Marathon and winds past Mati, Rafina, Pikermi, Pallini, Stavros and Halandri before arriving at Panathenaic Stadium. The middle of the route is mildly hilly, but the rest of it is either flat or downhill, and the running surface is asphalt all the way.