By Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Samuel Kalalei won the 35th Athens Authentic Marathon race on Sunday, covering the 42km historic course from Marathon city to Athens in two hours 12 minutes and 17 seconds.
The 23-year-old winner did not manage to break the record on the authentic course held since 2014 by Kenyan Felix Kipchirchir Kandie, but received an enthusiastic welcome by thousands of spectators inside the Panathenaic stadium.
His compatriot Milton Kiplagat Rotich ranked second in 2:14:18 and Jonathan Yego Kiptoo, also from Kenya, followed third in 2:16:08.
In the women's division, Ethiopian Bedaru Hipra Badane, 18 years old, won the first place clocking 2:34:18. She was followed by Kenyan Alice Kibor who ranked second in 2:34:22 and Nancy Jebichi Arusei, the 2016 winner also from Kenya was in third 2:34:51.
Approximately 18,500 runners from around the world followed the footsteps of the legendary Athenian soldier Pheidippides on the historic and tough 42km course this year, out of a total of 51,000 people participating in seven races, including many shorter distance events.
Around 100,000 people cheered them on along the course and at the finish line inside the marble venue of the 1896 first modern Olympic Games, according to the organizers of the Greek Athletics Federation (SEGAS).
The Athens Marathon stems from Pheidippides' feat 2,500 years ago. The messenger, according to legend, run from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce Greeks' victory over the Persian forces and collapsed dead of exhaustion, inspiring modern Marathons worldwide.