The grueling Athens marathon race claimed a participant’s life yesterday when a Greek runner suffered a fatal heart attack in the early stages of the 42-kilometer run. Dimitris Lepousis, 42, an athlete with a Holargos sports club, collapsed some 9 kilometers after the start of the 22nd Athens Classic Marathon, on the outskirts of Nea Makri in eastern Attica. He was quickly given first aid, but died in an ambulance en route to the Athens KAT hospital. The annual race, which is held along with a 10-kilometer run through central Athens, starts off from just outside the modern village of Marathon and follows a route introduced for the first modern Olympics in 1896. It is meant to roughly trace the course of a semi-legendary ancient soldier said to have run to the city bearing the tidings of the Athenians’ victory over an invading Persian army at Marathon in 490 BC. Kenyan Frederic Cherano won the men’s marathon in 2 hours 15.28 minutes, while the women’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Zinach Alemu in 2 hours 41.11.