NEWS

German arrives in Athens after 2,200 km run

German social worker Jurgen Mennel arrived in Athens yesterday after running 2,200 kilometers in 30 days to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the battle of Marathon. Mennel, 50, arrived at the marble Panathenaic Stadium where he was greeted by Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos in a special ceremony. «It was a great feeling to finally get to the great stadium. I am very honored by the reception and am just happy to have arrived,» Mennel told Reuters. «It was getting a bit much with all the media attention during the run but I’m very proud. The training was incredibly difficult. There were days when I thought that I would have to stop because I’m not a machine but I was prepared mentally and kept going.» Mennel had planned to cover the distance from his home in Heilbronn, southwest Germany, in 27 days and in the end was three days over his estimate. His run was one of several events marking this year’s anniversary of the original marathon run, culminating in the 28th Athens Classic Marathon on October 31. In August, Greek marathon recordholder Maria Polyzou, 42, became the first woman to complete the 520-kilometer run from Athens to Sparta and back to pay tribute to the legend of Athenian soldier Pheidippides, who is said to have run the distance to request help from the Spartans before the battle began. The myth of the origins of the marathon dates back to 490 BC when Pheidippides, carrying the news of a Greek victory over the Persians, is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to announce victory. This year’s edition of the Athens Classic Marathon has attracted a record number of 12,500 athletes, 80 percent of them from abroad, compared to 4,000 last year. (Reuters)