Not many may have the privilege of competing on the original marathon course, which begins at the ancient and historic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens (Greece). And to crown it all, for Dr. Maridi Narender Reddy from Hyderabad (now settled in Germany), it was an absolutely amazing experience after he completed the marathon in 4 hours and 3 minutes and secured first place among the Indian participants!
Dr. Narender, 49, a pharmaceutical research scientist with Merck Germany, has returned to his home country, and has every reason to share his moments of joy and excitement at being part of what is arguably a marathon synonymous with the Olympic spirit. In itself because it was the same track on which competitors in the 1896 Olympics competed for top honors.
How was the whole experience?
It was an amazing experience, and there is nothing more enriching than participating in and finishing the historic Athens Marathon.
The Athens Marathon is known as the original marathon course and is the same course used since the 1896 Olympic Games. It was from the battleground city of Marathon and finished at the historic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.
How many Indians were there and from Telangana?
According to the Athens Marathon 2023 results published on their website, I found that there were a total of 11 participants from India. There is no mention of state wise entries from India.
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I felt happy and honored when I saw that I came in first place among the participants from India across all age groups with a time of 4 hours and 3 minutes.
This was your first time and if so, what was the biggest challenge there?
It’s my fifth marathon. She completed the Hyderabad Marathon in 2018, the OC USA Marathon 2019, the Mumbai Marathon in 2020, and most recently the Berlin Marathon in September 2023.
In the Athens Marathon, the biggest challenge was a continuous climb of 18-32 kilometers and a total elevation gain of 340 metres, and the hot weather after 20 kilometers further drained the energy.
How did you get to the event?
It was a dream for me to participate in this authentic marathon. I have been training with the Adidas Runners Frankfurt community for about two years doing trail and road running to keep myself fit and active. My recent timing of finishing the Berlin Marathon in under 4 hours has earned me and others a chance to compete in the 2023 Athens Marathon.
What was the biggest lesson or gain from the whole experience?
The biggest lesson is getting proper sleep and rest before race days, and the biggest gain is learning and sharing from the experienced running team who come here all over the world.
What are your other major achievements in the recent past?
Over the past year, he finished the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon with a personal best time of 3:56:00, and the Frankfurt 10km PB of 46 minutes to name a few.
Your favorite hobby? hobby? How long do you train daily, where and what diet do you follow?
She has been involved in endurance sports since 2017, competed in long distance cycling, has been a Super Randonneur six times with Hyderabad Randonneurs, (Long Distance Cycling) and has competed in PBP and LEL. I also won gold in the Masters category in Telangana State in February 2021, and also came first in local cycling events at HBC and CYKUL in Hyderabad between 2018 and 2019.
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After moving to Germany with family in 2021, the winter has become longer and colder with shorter days. To combat the cold and weather-induced depression, I took running seriously and began training with local running and cycling communities. I train and participate in cycling on long summer days and running on short days in winter.
I train three times a week for 16 weeks before the marathon. I eat a balanced diet required depending on my mileage and races.
I hope I can continue to enjoy and win laurels as well.