Sunday, April 11, 2010

Athens Marathon 2010 Closed?? WTF??

I cannot believe it!!!

Last year I ran the Athens Marathon (in Greece) and enjoyed it. This year (2010) it is the special anniversary of 2,500 years from the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) so I was thinking of doing it again.

Then, my wife, who has not run a marathon yet, threw the idea of making this her FIRST marathon. I told her that she is crazy (it is a very hard course)but we talked about it and became comfortable with the idea, and started making plans. Sounded like a wonderful idea to go and enjoy the experience together. I loved it!  I even got a stack of books and started reading about the history of the Battle of Marathon.

The registration opened a month ago. They sent me an email saying that I should register early because of the increased interest due to the anniversary. They said something like the race could fill by the end of Spring. Last year I waited until the last minute, just a couple of days before the deadline, sometime in October (!), and there were openings. There were about 3,500 runners last year. This year they said they will limit the field to 12,000 runners.

So, I go today to the web site, and what do I see? The race is filled and the registration is closed!!

("as the best race ever" you did not run!)

I did a bit of research and found that it closed in 2 weeks! (by April 1 - no joke!)  In two weeks they filled 12,000 spots, while last year they only had 3,500 runners? Hard to believe.  But they say that only 4,000 registrations were open to the general public.  The rest were distributed to different groups and tourist organizations outside Greece, ahead of time. I really don't understand this.  2 out of 3 registrations go to organizations and let the general public out of the race? 

They also say that around June (no date specified) they might free some registrations from cancelations (no specifics, nothing), so check the web site around this time.  This is unacceptable and irritating.  One needs to make plans, make flight reservations, train for the race, etc., so now we have to wait until June, just in case we get lucky?  I say, screw them!  Who needs that?

Who would have thought that the 2500 year anniversary from the Battle of Marathon would generate such an interest? Someone said that the anniversary is really next year (2011) since there is no year zero :) So I decided to buy the commemorative medal this year (anyone can buy it at - only 10 Euros each, they come from South Africa from all places) and run the race next year (ha, ha!). Actually I bought 3 medals, one for me, one for my wife and one for ebay (50 years from now it might be in high demand).  Here is a picture of it:

So I missed Boston 2010 and now Athens 2010. It's a terrible year!!! This puts a lot of pressure for people to register early for key races. Like the Summer Buckeye 50K. Some people put an alarm to wake up and register in the middle of the night. As if we did not have enough stress already. Running is supposed to be fun and here it becomes a source of stress and disappointment. Oh well, at least this shows an increased interest in running.


The Green Girl said...

Have you looked any of the marathon packages? For example, I registered with my running group and the travel agency we went through already registered in bulk so they know they can sell so many packages.

I love that you bought the commemorative medal. That's awesome.

I hope this race really helps boosts the Greek economy.

Eliran said...

you are correct
packages price is 800 euro while registration is 90 euro
why like this???

Amy said...

This is a good post about Athens Marathon 2010. Lots of information and opinion. Great post.