2004 marathons will have an evening start

DAKAR (AFP) – Both the men’s and women’s marathons at next year’s Olympic Games in Athens will have an evening start at 6 p.m., the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced here on Saturday. The original plan was for both races, regarded as among the great showpieces of the Games, to be held early in the morning to avoid the stifling Athens summer heat and traffic pollution. But with the men’s race slated for its traditional slot on the final day of the event, August 29 – a week after the women’s race – this would have meant a clash with the finals of the rowing events which take place on the final morning. The IAAF decided to accept a compromise by keeping the race on the final day but moving it to an evening start. European and US television broadcasters were also believed to be in favor of evening starts for both races.