SPORTS

Abdelkrim Boubker wins Athens Classic Marathon

Moroccan runner Abdelkrim Boubker won the 29th Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday, November 13, clocking 2 hours, 11 minutes and 40 seconds, to cap a very successful event despite the adverse weather in the Greek capital.

Boubker broke away from the pack at around the 30th kilometer and registered the third-best time ever for the original route of the Marathon race.

Braving the cold and windy conditions, the Moroccan beat his personal best by three minutes.

Kenya’s Kipkosgei Chumba was second (2:13.27) and his compatriot Daniel Ndiritu Gatheru third (2:16.12).

“I am very happy to finish first in this race. I have had some tough preparation for over three months for it,» said Boubker seconds after claiming victory at the Panathenaic Stadium.

“This is the second marathon race I have won this year after Leiden,» in the Netherlands, he added.

Last year’s winner, Raymond Bett, quit the race.

Dimitris Theodorakakos was the first Greek to finish the race and seventh overall with a time of 2:24.10, sealing the Greek championship. Giorgos Karavidas was the second Greek and eighth overall.

The women’s race was won by Ethiopian Elfenesh Melaku, who clocked 2:35.25.

“This was a difficult race as it had too many uphills,» said a happy Melaku. «It’s good I have recorded a time close to my personal best.”

She beat Kamila Khanipova of Russia by just six seconds.

Sofia Riga won the Greek championship with a time of 2:45.43.

Ethiopia’s Kassahun Jebel won the men’s 10,000-meter race, with Popi Astropekaki winning the women’s.

In the 5,000 meters, Constantinos Drosos won the men’s race and Julia Nachyla the women’s.

“We have managed to convince all those who doubted our capacity to organize the Marathon in Athens during the crisis — doubts which deprived us of a number of foreign runners — that we had no problems in hosting the event up to its usual standard,» said the head of the organizing committee, Costas Panagopoulos.

“We have had 8,500 runners in the Marathon proper and a total of 18,500 in all events. This is the figure we want,» he added.

“The weather may have been difficult for the fans but not for the athletes,» he said. Indeed, the northeasterly wind in Attica on Sunday provided a tail wind for the runners.

As of this year the event has a new sponsor, state gaming company OPAP, which has signed a contract for six years.

Furthermore, Greek track and field federation SEGAS, which organizes the event, has signed an accord with UNESCO, which recognizes the cultural heritage of the event, while proceeds from the Marathon will go toward educational programs in Africa.