A lot depends on the weather conditions
2003-11-01The Athens Marathon is one of the toughest in the world, so for anyone fortunate enough (if thats the right expression) to get selected for the Olympic race next year, or brave enough to attempt the original marathon course, listen to Nikos Polias, for he knows of which he speaks. "You have to start slowly," says Polias, who has won the Marathon to Athens race six times in ten starts. "Because you still need to be alive when you get to 30 kilometres". The reason for that is that the course rises gradually between 11 and 30 kilometres. "You have to be very patient," says Polias, "so that you can take advantage of the last ten kilometres, which drops down to the finish". A measure of the courses difficulty is that Polias best time is 2hr 13min 53sec, which he set in the World Championships in Paris in August. Yet his best on the Athens course is 2.18.38.
"A lot depends on the weather conditions too," he said yesterday, "its good when the wind is coming from the north. When Bill Adcocks ran 2.11.07 (the course record) in 1969, I gather there was a typhoon behind him. I think the best run on the course is Abel Antons 2.13.06, when he won the world title in 97. The temperature was 36C". Temperatures for Sundays 21st edition of the Athens Classic Marathon are likely to be in the mid-teens centigrade (55-60F). Polias has been injured since Paris, and feels he won cope with the East African challenge, which comes principally from Simeretu Alemayhu of Ethiopia, who has run 2.07.45, Zebedayo Bayo of Tanzania (2.08.51) and last years winner, Mark Saina of Kenya (2.09.00).
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