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Running in Greece

The home of the first Marathon keeps up the tradition


Born to run? Here's where you can do it in Greece with these events and races, many of them through some of the scenic and historic territory in all of Greece.

1. Athens Marathon

Photo © Athens Marathon; used by permission.

The Athens Marathon is held each fall and attracts runners from all over. As much of the Marathon as possible is held over the original route between Athens and Marathon, and ends in the Panathenaic Stadium in the heart of Athens.

2. Olympia

Priestess raises the torch at an Olympic Games torchlighting ceremony at Olympia,Greece.
Photo © Getty Images

Technically frowned upon, few runners can resist taking at least a few steps around the ancient track at Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics.

3. Nemean Games

The Olympic Games were not the only games in Greece; many towns and regions held athletic competitions. The modern Nemean Games are a sweet recreation of the ancient competition and, like the Olympic Games, are held every four years. Pre-registration is required; if you've missed the deadline for 2008, start training for 2012 now.

4. Map My Run - Greece

This website searches out good running routes around the world - a search on Athens, Greece comes up with over fifty routes, many with detailed descriptions.

5. Spartathalon

Spartathlon 245.3K

Athens-to-Sparta, Greece

Founded over 25 years ago, this race is usually held in late September. It's an ultra-distance, 150-mile race favored by elite runners from around the world.

6. International Alonissos Marathon and Half Marathon

These races are held on the island of Alonissos, renowned for its marine wildlife preserve, at the end of May. The race was cancelled in 2009; check with organizers to be sure future dates are correct.

7. In Greece: From Ancient Messenger to Modern Games

A look at running in Greece and in Athens by Daniel Head at the Washington Runners Report.

8. Ancient Greek Poems on Running

From Roger Robinson's book "Running in Literature", a selection of odes to the fleet of foot from Ancient Greece.

9. Olympus Marathon

Into "skyrunning" - races with attitude and altitude? This trail-based marathon up the slopes of Mount Olympus may be just the race to make you feel like a true Olympian. Held each summer.

10. Psiloritis International Mountain Race

Psiloritis International Mountain Race
© Psiloritis International Mountain Race

Want to get high while you run? This mountain race through the sacred landscape of Crete may be just the route for you. Held in late spring; limited to 300 participants with a minimum age of 18.

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