The Athens Marathon in Greece 2021

Nov, 12, 2021

Last Updated on November 19, 2021 by Celeste

Athens Marathon

The Athens Marathon Race

The Athens Marathon is a unique yearly event attended by thousands of people from all over the world. During the Athens Marathon, runners get to race along the historic route from Marathon to Athens. No other event in Athens is so closely related to Greece’s ancient history. The Athens Marathon, or Authentic Marathon, is the biggest, most significant international sports event in Greece. Here you will find more information about the history of the Marathon, how to participate and what to expect in Athens during the marathon race in 2021.

History of the Marathon in Athens

For a history buff like myself, being in Athens and participating in the Athens Marathon events, as a runner or as a spectator, is an absolute must. Because the event combines many elements. The race was born in Ancient Greece, at Marathon – hence the name. The legend of Marathon relates that Pheidippides (530–490 BC), an Athenian herald, or hemerodrome (messenger), who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, with the news of an important Greek victory over an invading army of Persians in 490 B.C. According to the legend, his last words were Nenikekiam (“Victory!”). And then he promptly collapsed from exhaustion and died.

Athens Marathon Greece

The town of Marathon and the route from Marathon to Athens still exists and is part of the modern Athens Marathon race. In Marathon, you can visit the Marathon Run Race Museum, Ancient Marathon, and the Tymbos of Marathon, a vaulted tomb where the 192 Athenian soldiers who died in the Marathon Battle were buried.

For more information and to plan your visit to Marathon, ancient Marathon, and the Marathon Run Museum, read our experience here: Family Day Trip from Athens: Visit Marathon

Experience the Athens Marathon in Greece

In 2014, I participated for the first time in the Athens Marathon. Together with my coach and training partner, we joined the 10K race. The race started in the center of Athens at Syntagma square, and we passed the beautiful heart of Athens towards the finish line in the historic Panathenaic Stadium (or Kalimarmaro). It was an unforgettable experience that I will never forget because we were at the birthplace of the Marathon. I loved watching the Acropolis while running. And I still get goosebumps thinking of receiving my medal at the venue of the first Olympic Games. I have been participating in the race since, with virtual experience in 2020 due to the corona pandemic.

Athens Marathon

A few years later, my daughter participated in the Kids Race of the Athens Marathon. The race is 1K and a great way to combine exercising with history. Wouldn’t your child be excited to run in the footsteps of the ancient Pheidippides (530–490 BC) and the famous Greek hero Spyros Louis, the first-ever winner of the Marathon?

Athens Monuments at the Marathon Routes 5K, 10K

Some Athens monuments along the 5K and 10 K routes are:

  • The National Gardens and Zappeio
  • The Parliament Building at Syntagma square
  • The National Library
  • Athens Music Hall
  • The University of Athens
  • Athens National Gallery
  • The Panathenaic Stadium

Don’t forget that you will have a marvelous view on the Acropolis and the Lycabettus hill from the Panathenaic Stadium.

Athens Marathon 13-14 November 2021

Due to the corona pandemic, the Athens Marathon 2021 is more restricted than usual. Further, according to the current Health Protocol of the Greek government, only fully vaccinated runners and runners with proof of recovery from COVID-19 can participate in the 2021 Athens Marathon event. For registration and further information, check the official website of the 2021 Authentic Athens Marathon.

Athens Marathon

Athens Marathon 2021 Program


Athens City Center – Amalias Avenue

17.00′: 10km Road Race A

Starts from Vas. Amalias Ave. in front of Bodosakis Megaron
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Estimated Finish Time of the 1st Marathon Runner: 17.30′
Time Limit: 90′

Athens City Center – Panathenaic Stadium

17.45-18.00:        Medal Awards Ceremony for the Winners of the 10km Road Race

Athens City Center – Amalias Avenue

18.00′: 10km Road Race B

Starts from Vas. Amalias Ave. in front of Bodosakis Megaron
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Time Limit: 90′


Athens City Center – Amalias Avenue

08.00: 5km Road Race A

Starts from Vas. Amalias Ave. in front of Bodosakis Megaron
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Estimated Finish Time of the 1st Marathon Runner: 08.15′
Time Limit: 60′

09.00: 5km Road Race B

Starts from Vas. Amalias Ave. in front of Bodosakis Megaron
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Time Limit: 60′

Athens City Center – Panathenaic Stadium

10.00-10.45: Medal Awards Ceremony for the Winners of the 5km Road Race

Marathon Town – Marathon Start Venue

09.00: Marathon Race A (42.195m on the Authentic Route)

Starts from the Historic Marathon Start Venue (Marathon Stadium)
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Estimated Finish Time of the 1st Marathon Runner: 11.19′
Time Limit: 7 hours

09.45: Marathon Race B & Power Walking (42.195m on the Authentic Route)

Starts from the Historic Marathon Start Venue (Marathon Stadium)
Finishes inside the Panathenaic Stadium
Time Limit: 7 hours

Athens City Center – Panathenaic Stadium

11.30-12.00: Medal Awards Ceremony for the Winners of Marathon Race & Hellenic Marathon National Championships

Athens Marathon Family Activities

Support the runners

It is very nice to support the runners along the route. The route begins at the small town of Marathon, and ends in the Panathenaic Stadium in central Athens. The length of the route is exactly 42.195 kilometers, or 26.2 miles. The centre of Athens will be closed off to cars, and the streets are easy to navigate on foot. There are always lots of people on the streets, and I remember street musicians and street artists. Wander towards Zapeion and the National Gardens, the starting point of the 5K and 10K races. The hustle and bustle and the energy of the runners is something that I will always remember. Some people dress up as ancient Greeks and run the race, others bring their dogs or their musical instruments.

Athens Marathon

Wander the streets of Athens

Enjoy music and people in the sunny street of Athens during the Marathon weekend. Note that during the races, there are no vehicles allowed in the city centre of Athens and anywhere around the Panathenaic Stadium until the afternoon. Therefore, I recommend the use of the metro. The Athens metro is stroller accessible and most metro stations have elevators. Don’t miss the metro stations of Acropolis, Monasteraki and Syntagma with their display of archaeological findings.

Visit the Panathenaic Stadium

To truly understand the atmosphere of the Marathon race, you should visit the historic Panathenaic Stadium, preferably not on the day of the Marathon. On the day of the Marathon race, the Panathenaic Stadium opens its doors to the public free of charge, but it will be very busy. The stadium closes late in the evening when the last runner has crossed the finish line. The Panathenaic Stadium is located just 1000 m from the “Syntagma”, “Acropolis” and “Evangelismos” metro stations. You can get there by metro or walk.

Please note: for 2021 the stadium may be closed for visitors. We will update this article accordingly.

Athens Marathon Greece

Marathon Museum and Archaeological sites

Consider visiting the Marathon Museum in Marathon town. It takes about one hour from Athens by car. Marathon is located on the northeast coast of Attica, 40 km away from Athens, and twenty minutes away from Athens International Airport. Its permanent exhibition of the “Olympic Marathon” presents the history of the Olympic Marathons from 1896 to 2000 and over 4000 exhibits record the history of Marathon race from 1896 until today. A unique historical collection that could not be found elsewhere than in the birthplace of Marathon road race! Kids can participate in several educational programs such as the Participation in an experiential activity group. On your way to Marathon and the Tomb, you will drive the route of the Athens Authentic Marathon!

Marathon Tomb

The Tumulus is a hill of nine meters height of soil that covered the 192 Athenians who defeated the Persians in the famous Battle of Marathon, in 490 BC. The struggle was fundamental because it could retain the role of Greek culture and also revive the concept of Athenian democracy. What you will see is around small hill with olive trees and the model of the area with explanatory signs that reconstruct the story. A symbolic place that is worth a visit if you are interested in history. It is easy to visit and to make a short walk around the tomb. Kids will love it!


Have you ever visited the town of Marathon, the birthplace of the famous race? In Day Trip from Athens to Marathon you can read all about it!

Olympic Games Workout for Families

If you want to experience the historic Panathenaic Stadium in a unique way with your family, have a look at:

The Athens Olympic Games Work Out

During this tour, you will experience your very own family Olympics in the famous Olympic Stadium in Athens. You and your kids will feel like an Olympic athlete and learn more about the history of Ancient Greece and the Olympic Games while working out. You will learn how ancient and modern Olympians trained, take part in a fun gym session, and finish with a family race at the magnificent Panathenaic Stadium.

Program of the Olympic Games Work out for families

You will meet at the Zappeion, a beautiful neoclassical building near the National Garden Botanical gardens in central Athens. Here, your sports trainer/guide will describe how important the Olympics were to Ancient Greek society, and even how wars were canceled, so the games could take place! You will have the opportunity to learn how the athletes used to live and train, which were the most popular ancient Olympic sports, and how the Modern Olympics took its inspiration and was born again in Athens.

Athens Marathon

Moving on from the Zappeion, you can then visit a historic gymnasium nearby. You will have the chance to learn the techniques involved in correctly holding and throwing the discus and javelin. You can also try the high jump as well the shot put.  Which one of your family will be able to throw the furthest?

Finally, it is time to move on to the Panathenaic Stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium held some of the events of the first modern Olympic games over 100 years ago. Now though, it can hold the final event of your very own Family Olympics as you prepare to race around its track. With such incredible surroundings, it doesn’t matter who wins… as long as you experience together!

Click here for more information and for booking your Olympic Games Work out for families

Other activities for sport-loving families in Athens

Can’t get enough of working out together? Consider a Family Bike Tour around Athens, a Family Work out in the street of Athens, or an Escape Room Game for Kids. All these activities are outdoors, and you can be together with your kids in the historic streets of Athens. You can find all these activities in my list of Top things to do in Athens with children.

Family Hotels in Athens

If you are visiting Athens for the Marathon, make sure that you make your hotel booking in advance. The Athens Marathon is a popular event and hotels will be booked fast. Are you traveling with kids? Have a look at my list of family hotels in Athens.

Click here for Family Hotels in Athens and Greece

Guides for Athens

Here are a few more guides you will like if you are in Athens:

And if you are participating in the Athens Marathon, have a great race, maybe see you there!

Athens Marathon


Celeste was born and raised in the Netherlands but lives in Greece for 25 years. She studied at the Dutch Institute of Athens underneath the Acropolis and currently lives with her family in an Athenian suburb. Celeste is the founder of Family Experiences Blog. Whether you and your family live in Greece or are visiting, this blog will show you the very best ways in which to celebrate family life here.

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Family Experiences Blog

Hi, Welcome to my blog! I am Celeste, a cultural historian and mom of two girls. I love to travel and have spent over 25 years exploring beautiful Greece.

When my kids were born, it became my passion to find quality family destinations. Since then, we have been travelling full time around the country to find kid-friendly spots.

If you need inspiration for planning your family vacation in Greece, I am here to help! As a professional travel blogger and passionate insider parent, I review hotels, places to visit and activities for kids.

Whether you and your family live in Greece, or are visiting, this blog will show you the very best ways to make amazing family memories.

Join me as I explore Greece and life with my family, one tiny adventure at the time!

Click here to read more here.

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