Athens: Kenya’s Luka Rotich Lobuwan won the 34th Athens classic marathon on Sunday in two hours, 12 minutes and 49 seconds for the grueling 42-kilometre (26 mile) course.
The 28-year-old Lobuwan was followed across the line by eight of his countrymen with second place going to Benson Kipruto, who clocked 2:13.24 and Bernard Kitur in third at 2:13.32.
The woman’s race was won by 30-year-old Kenyan Nancy Jebichi Arusei in a time of 2:38.13 and was 18th overall.
Some 50,000 runners took part in sunny weather and cool temperatures in the classic marathon which began near the tumulus erected for the Greek dead of the battle of Marathon, and the shorter five and 10-km races in downtown Athens.
The finish line for each was the all-marble Panathenaic Stadium, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896.
According to legend, the 42-kilometre distance from Marathon to Athens was first run by Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger who in 490 BC dashed to the democratic city-states of Athens and Platea to announce victory of the citizen soldiers of Athens over soldiers of the Persian Empire, before dying of exhaustion.