Running the Athens Marathon. The Authentic Course

The Athens Marathon, known as “The Authentic,” is a unique and historic race that traces the legendary path of the ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides. 

Starting at the historic town of Marathon, runners get to experience the history, culture, and beautiful landscapes of Greece throughout the race. 

If you’re looking to participate in this race, we’ve provided a detailed account of the Athens Marathon route and essential information that will help you prepare for this historic but difficult event.

The Route

The Athens Marathon, The Authentic. starts in the town of Marathon and finishes in the iconic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. 

The course is 42.195 kilometres (26.2 miles) long and is run entirely on asphalt. 

While the race starts at 9:00am, the race uses a wave start system. 

Runners are allocated to starting blocks based on their previous best finishing times.

Elite runners start first, followed by subsequent waves every 2-6 minutes. 

Here’s a breakdown of the route:

Start at Marathon

The race begins at the ancient battlefield in the town of Marathon. Before the race begins, runners are asked to raise their right arm and take the “marathon oath”. 

This is a pledge to honour the ideals and spirit of the marathon movement, which promotes peace throughout the world.

This area is a peaceful, rural setting, offering runners a serene start to the race. 

The first 4 kilometres are slightly downhill, allowing runners to settle into their pace.

Marathonomachon Street and Marathon Tomb

At the 4km mark, runners turn left into Marathonomachon Street, passing the Marathon Tomb, a powerful reminder of the battle that gave birth to this legendary race. 

The circular route around the memorial can be touching, with many racers paying their respects to the fallen soldiers. 

This part of the course follows a circular route around the memorial for the next 2.2 kilometres.  

Nea Makri (6km to 10km)

As runners leave Marathon, they will pass through the town of Nea Makri. 

This section is quite picturesque, with views of the Aegean Sea on one side and the rolling hills on the other. 

The course remains mostly flat, with gentle undulations that warm up the legs for the more challenging sections ahead.

Mid-Course: Nea Makri to Pikermi (10-20km)

Around the 10-kilometre mark, runners will encounter the first significant incline. 

The route begins to rise gradually as it heads towards the town of Pikermi. 

This part of the course can be tough, as the incline is steady and lasts for several kilometres. 

It’s essential for participants to pace themselves and conserve energy for the challenges ahead.

The Toughest Part: Pikermi to Agia Paraskevi (20-31km)

The most challenging section of the Athens Marathon is between the 20-kilometre and 31-kilometre marks. 

This stretch features a continuous ascent, with the Athens Marathon elevation peaking at around 248 metres (813 feet) above sea level. 

Runners will pass through the town of Pallini and then approach Agia Paraskevi. 

The uphill climb can be demanding, both physically and mentally, so proper training and strategy are crucial. 

Hydration and nutrition also play a vital role in ensuring runners maintain their energy levels.

The Decent to Athens (31km-Finish)

After the 31km mark, the course descends into Athens. 

The final 11 kilometres are mostly downhill, providing some relief to tired legs. 

The route passes through several districts, including Pikermi, Pallini, Gerakas, and Chalandri, before reaching the city centre.

As runners enter the city of Athens, the atmosphere becomes electrifying. The streets are lined with supporters, and the historical landmarks serve as a reminder of the race’s significance. 

The final stretch takes participants past some of Athens’ famous sites, including the National Gardens and the Zappeion.

Despite the fatigue well and truly setting in at this point, the outpouring of support from the locals will help you find the motivation to keep running.

Finish Line: Panathenaic Stadium

The race concludes at the Panathenaic Stadium, a magnificent marble structure that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. 

Crossing the finish line here is a moment of triumph, as runners complete their journey in the footsteps of ancient legends. 

The stadium’s grandeur and the roaring crowds make for an unforgettable finish.

Looking to participate in this year's Athens Marathon?

Travelling Fit has helped runners from across the world travel to and compete in this historic event for over 18 years!

Our Athen Marathon travel package options feature 5 Day/4 Night & 7 Day / 6 Night itineraries which offer a range of tour options and include:

  • Guaranteed Race Entry (Runners Only)
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • Return airport transfers
  • Escorted coach transfer to race start (runners only)
  • Assistance by English Speaking ground staff
  • Personalised Travelling Fit Running Top
  • exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Invite to Travelling Fit’s Athens Marathon Closed Facebook Group
  • exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Delivery of Marathon Race Pack to your hotel including goodie bag and official race T-shirt
  • 24/7 help desk during your stay
  • VAT Tax

Check out our packages page to learn more or contact us today to speak with a member from our friendly team!