While many of us were bracing ourselves from the first biting winds of winter, two of the most attractive marathons in Europe were taking place in Athens and the French Riviera at the weekend. The races, both popular destinations for UK runners seeking a late autumn marathon, witnessed a course record with Kenyan Felix Kandie first in Athens, and Shumi Hailu posting an extremely quick time on the French coast.
In Greece, a record number of 13,000 runners registered for the 32nd staging of the Athens Classic Marathon. Mild conditions allowed Kandie, an outsider prior to the race with a PB of 2:16:12 set in Sydney two years ago, to win in a record time of 2:10:37. Kandie’s time displaced the previous record, held by Stefano Baldini and set ten years ago during the Athens Olympics.
After the race, the Kenyan runner commented: “I felt strong and my body responded well after the half way mark. Firstly my goal was to make the podium. But when I was in the lead with Raymond Bett I did not fear him, I wanted to win. I am very happy, it is a big pleasure to run this race and win on the historic course.”
Covering the 'Promenade des Anglais' in Nice and 'La Croisette' of Cannes, participants at the French Riviera Marathon spent the majority of their 26.2 mile journey along the coast of the Mediterranean. In what was its sixth year, Ethiopia’s Shume Hailu followed up his victory at this year’s Rome Marathon with another first. Hailu’s time of 2:09:26 placed him less than a minute outside of Lucas Kanda’s 2011 record. Like Athens, the event attracted a big field, with 10,000 runners registered pre-race.
If you are interested in taking part in either marathon, Sports Tours International offer excellent packages for both. More information is available here.