ATHENS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 35th edition of Athens Authentic Marathon started on Sunday with a record participation on the original course from the site of the ancient battlefield of Marathon city to the center of the Greek capital, according to organizers.
Approximately 18,500 runners from around the world follow the footsteps of the legendary soldier Pheidippides on the historic and tough 42km course this year, out of a total of 51,000 people participating in seven races.
In addition to the full marathon race, there were 5km and 10km Road Races, a 5km Evening Road Race, the Power Walking and the Kids Race.
The Athens Marathon has developed in recent years into one of the biggest annual sports events for Greece.
According to estimates from the organizers Greek Athletics Federation (SEGAS), more than 100,000 spectators followed the races along the course and at the finish line inside the Panathenaic stadium, the marble venue of the 1896 first modern Olympic Games in the centre of Athens.
The Athens Marathon stems from Pheidippides' feat 25 centuries ago. The Athenian soldier, according to legend, ran from the battlefield to Athens to announce Greeks' victory over the Persian forces and collapsed dead of exhaustion. He inspired modern marathon worldwide.