News Archive

News Archive

Museum of the Marathon in MARATHON

Where else to have a museum dedicated to the marathon, but Marathon? This is

the town, where it all began 2,500 years ago, with the run of the legendary

Pheidippides, to announce the Athenian victory over the Persians. Or, if you

don’t believe that story, what about 108 years ago, when the road from

Marathon to Athens was pressed into use, firstly for the Greek Olympic trials,

then for the inaugural Olympic Games in 1896?

Three months ago

The 4000 contestants in Sunday’s 22nd annual Athens Classic Marathon have

extra reason to go out and see the course beforehand. As part of course

upgrading, Alpha Bank, the Olympic and ‘classic’ marathon sponsor

instituted the Museum of the Marathon three months ago.

Olympic champions

A former elementary school in the town’s main street has been transformed

into a tour of tableaux dedicated to every Olympic marathon since 1896, with a

secondary exhibition, highlighting the world’s biggest ‘city’

marathons, biographies of Olympic champions, explanations of the physiology,

diet, refreshment and equipment, and loop videos with great footage of Olympic


Leni Riefenstahl’s film cameramen

With the help of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, the curators have brought

together some fascinating photos and facts behind the century of Olympic

marathons - from the fact that the race in Athens 1896 was held on April 10 on

the Gregorian calendar, still in use in Greece, but March 29 on the

‘modern’ Julian calendar; to the first use of the 42.195k distance

in Paris 1924, and a wonderful photo of one of strapped to the running board of

a stripped down Mercedes, filming Sohn Kee-chung winning in Berlin 1936.

A Greek named Melpomene

There is an additional section dedicated to women in the marathon, doubly

appropriate since Athens 1982 and the European Championships was the first time

a women’s championship was run. But Rosa Mota, who won that race, and the

Olympic race in Seoul was far from being the first female marathoner.

A Greek named Melpomene had run the original course a week after her celebrated

compatriot, Spyros Louis had won the inaugural Olympic race in 1896.

Well, that’s the story!

Pat Butcher

Further info:

+44 7900 243460/+44 7788 745479