Despite the rainy weather, more than twenty thousand runners, aged 9 to 94 years, flooded the streets of Thessaloniki and Macedonia to live a unique experience, made of smiles, joy and enthusiasm, won the applause of many supporters and spectators and all together contributed to renew the message of sport, health and solidarity of an event that, since 2006, combines past and present.
The final number of participants exceeded by as much as 40% the result achieved last year with 20.410 registered runners – from 67 countries and 5 continents – of which 1.818 in the Marathon, 3.977 in the 10.000m Road Race of Health and Power Walking, 12.615 in the 5.000m Road Race of Health and Power Walking and 2.000 Elementary School students. Actually runners were many more, considering many people who spontaneously joined the races and ran together with the other participants without the bib number and the timekeeping chip.
The 42.195 km Marathon saw the triumph of Bonsa Atomsa Gonfa, who passed the finish line in 2:18:06 and whose performance could have been even better if the rain had not made slippery much of the path between Pella and Thessaloniki. The Ethiopian athlete stood out from the other contenders the victory at the thirtieth kilometer, leaving behind the Kenyans Silas Too (2:21:31) and James Emuria (2:22:38). Finished just off the podium the other Ethiopian Teklu Geto, who failed to repeat the successes of the previous years (first in 2012, 2013 and second in 2014), coming in at fifth place in 2:27:15. Kyriakos Symiriotis marked the best performance among Greek athletes, ranking sixth in 2:27:59.
In the women’s Marathon the gold medal went to Zeritu Wakjira Begashaw, also from Ethiopia, with a time of 2:40:49, ahead of Kenyan Stellah Barsosio (2:40:54) and the Croatian Marija Vrajic (2:47:51). The fastest Greek runner was Elpida Simeonidou, who finished the race in sixth place in 3:24:54.
The winner of the 10km Race was Kenyan Henry Kemboi (30:21) followed by compatriot Abel Rop Kibet (30:23) and Russian Evgenii Bykov (30:40) while the Greek best result was the fourth place of Ioannis Papadopoulos with a time of 32:50.
Among women prevailed Kenyan Agnes Chebet (35:34) followed by Albanian Sonia Cekini-Boudouri (35:46) and Greek Panagiota Vlachaki (35:47) who snatched the third place from Magdaliní Gazéa (35:56), winner of the Marathon in the two previous editions.
This tenth edition of Alexander the Great Int’l Marathon achieved also a charity record, with as many as 45 organizations of social cooperation, involving a total 2.358 runners, receiving a significant economic contribution in proportion to the numerical strength of their teams.
The next running appointment in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city and capital of the Greek region of Macedonia, will be on October 10, with the fourth edition of the Thessaloniki Int’l Night Half Marathon, which promises an equally large participation and even greater emotions.
The tenth edition of the Alexander the Great Marathon is organized by the Thessaloniki’s MEAS Triton sports federation, under the auspices of the Greek National Commission for UNESCO, the Greek Olympic Committee, the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) and AIMS, and realized with the support of Government Institutions and numerous volunteer groups.
www.alexanderthegreatmarathon.org | www.atgm.gr
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