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Amateur runner wins Athens marathon

media Christoforos Merousis of Greece crosses the finish line to win the men's race during the Athens Classic Marathon at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on Sunday.. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis

Greek runner Christoforos Merousis won the 33rd Athens marathon on Sunday, completing the 42 kilometre (26 mile) course in two hours, 21 minutes and 22 seconds.

His time was almost six minutes faster than the runner up, Dimitrios Theodorakakos, who completed the race in 2:27.03. Third was Dimosthenis Evangelidis in 2:27.28.

The first non-Greek to cross the finish line was Belgian runner Stefan Colaes, who clocked 2:45.32, coming in 21st place.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old Japanese amateur Minori Hayakari was the first woman to complete the course in a time of 2:52.06, ending in 37th place.

A total of 14,728 runner took part in Sunday’s race, which began in the town of Marathon, and finished at the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896.

In a first for the Athens Marathon, professionals were not invited to participate.

The decision was taken by Greek athletics federation SEGAS so as to remain within budget, at a time when the country is in the midst of an economic crisis.

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