Greek city of Marathon celebrates historic anniversary | world | Hindustan Times
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Greek city of Marathon celebrates historic anniversary

world Updated: Sep 12, 2010 20:44 IST

The Greek town of Marathon celebrated on Sunday 2,500 years since the famous ancient battle, which sealed the victory of Athenian democracy over Persian troops and is behind a running event in the modern Olympics.

A sailing race in the bay of Marathon kicked off celebrations, with a hike planned for the evening, which would lead to the Tumulus monument, erected after the 490 BC victory of Miltiades' soldiers against the Persians.

A host of exhibits, plays and concerts around the battle also took place, organised by Marathon's town hall and a Greek non-governmental group.

According to legend, Greek soldier Phidippides ran 42 kilometres from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. He died from exhaustion just after uttering "victory" to his compatriots.

This event would become the inspiration behind the modern-day Olympic Games, which began in 1896, and the Athens marathon, organised by the Greek Athletics Federation, which draws numerous athletes around the world.

Organisers are expecting a huge turnout for the October 31 race because of the landmark anniversary.