8th Athens Classical Marathon. dedicated to the Balkan Champion Gregoris Lamprakis

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8th Athens Classical Marathon. dedicated to the Balkan Champion Gregoris Lamprakis


Gregoris Labrakis starts the Peace Marathon march from Marathon to Athens, on April 21, 1963. In 1984, SEGAS (Hellenic Athletics Federation) re-established the Athens Classic Marathon under the name “Peace Marathon-Gregoris Labrakis” in the honor of the athlete and organizer of the first Peace Marathon March

The International Athens Marathon is dedicated to the memory of the great freedom fighter, Gregory Lambrakis, once again this year.  The athlete, Balkan Games victor, doctor, and pacifist overwhelmed the entire world, both in life and death. Gregory Lambrakis dedicated his life to mankind’s idealism.
In the minds of the entire Hellenic people, he represents the symbol of struggle for democracy and social justice.

The film “Z” (winner of the 1969 Cannes Film Festival) is based on the story of his assassination, which was directed by Kosta Gavras and was based on the novel of Vasilis Vasilikos.
He was born on 3 April, 1912 in Karasitsa, Arcadia and he came from a long line of farmers. He studied medicine at the University of Athens, where he was amongst the top in class having specialised in gynaecology.

While continuing his studies in medicine, in 1931 Lambrakis started his pursuit in traditional athleticism. He became an athlete with many Panhellenic and Balkan victories. Up until 1959 he held the under-23 year Panhellenic record in Long Jump (7.37m). During the German occupation in Greece (1941-1944) he, together with fellow athletes, organized sporting events and competitions, allocating any revenue raised to local soup kitchens.In 1950 he became a lecturer in obstetrics at the University of Athens. He married Demetra Batargia and they raised two sons, Theodore and Gregory.
At the 1936 Balkan Games he was victorious in the Triple Jump event (14.19m). He continued to win gold medals in the many of the Balkan Games he participated in, including in 1937 for the Long Jump event (7.05m), 1938 for the Long Jump event (6.94m) and 1939 for the Long Jump, Triple Jump, the 100m and 200m Events.

Gregoris Labrakis with the legendary athlete Jesse Owens (winner of four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games) (Leonidas Stratakos, 90 years of Classic Athletics, page 55) / Bucharest, Balkan Games, 1937. The Pan-Hellenic and Balkan victor Gregoris Labrakis competing in the Long Jump (7.05m). In 1938 in Athens, he was the Pan-Hellenic Record Holder in the Long Jump with 7.37 for 21 years

He was permanent member of Greece’s National Team in the 100m, 200m, Long Jump and Triple Jump events for six continuous years. Becoming a Panhellenic and Balkan victor and also participating in the 1936 Olympic Games. During his career he took part in six Balkan Games and won a total of 12 gold medals and 10 championship titles in Panhellenic games. In the 1936 Olympic Games, held in Berlin, he secured 11th place and in 1937 secured fourth place in the global scholastic competition.
In the 1961 elections Gregory Lambrakis was elected as a member of parliament representing the United Democratic Left Party (EDA). He was a founding member and vice-president of the “Hellenic Committee for International Recession and Peace”. On 23 April, 1963 flouting a ban by police, held the 1st Marathon for Peace. He undertook the largest part of the journey alone, through threats, before finally arrested and detained for a few hours.
He then went to London to support Greek and British demonstrators who were seeking the release of political prisoners in Greece. Nearly a month later, on 22 May, upon his return from a peace and nuclear disarmament rally in Thessaloniki, he was met by a murderous attack by political activists. Heavily injured, he died on 27 May.
His violent death caused an outcry and resignations of the then Konstantinos Karamanlis Government. During the 1960s, his ideas and actions inspired young people in Greece to create the organization “Lambrakis Youth” with the first President being the internationally well known composer, Mikis Theodorakis.