By Mike Rowbottom

Mizuko Noguchi of Japan wins the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon title in the Panathenaikon Stadium ©AFP/Getty ImagesApril 30 - The Athens Classic Marathon will be re-launched as the "Athens Marathon. The Authentic" when it takes place this year on November 9.

The race, which has operated under its former name for 32 years, has grown rapidly in popularity since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the Hellenic Athletics Federation has seen entries rise from 4,000 to more than 30,000.

According to a release issued by the organisers, the re-naming of the event title reflects the "unique nature"of a marathon which is run "over the Authentic Course, the one used for the first ever Marathon held during the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896."

Makis Asimakopoulos, general coordinator of the event, explained the background to the change in name.

"This marathon course is unique because it's the original one, the authentic," he said.

"It is run from the municipality of Marathon to the city centre of Athens, following in the footsteps of the legendary Athenian soldier who ran to deliver news of the Greeks' victory in the historic Battle of Marathon in 490BC.

"The race finishes inside the Panathenaikon Stadium, the first ever Olympic Stadium, a beautiful venue which sends a shiver down the spine of any runner who enters."

The men's finish at the 2013 Athens Marathon, which will become 'Athens Marathon. The Authentic' this year. ©Athens Authentic MarathonThe men's finish at the 2013 Athens Marathon, which will become 'Athens Marathon. The Authentic' this year. ©Athens Authentic Marathon

The registration for this year's marathon has just opened and the maximum entry total is expected to be reached very soon. The event also includes shorter road races of 10 and five kilometres, as well as competitions for Paralympic athletes and children, all finishing inside the historic Panathenaikon Stadium.

"We are delighted by the feedback we receive from runners from more than 100 countries," added Asimakopoulos, who was also sports director for the 2004 Olympic Games.

"They are impressed by the quality of our services, the unique finisher's medal we give them, the overall experience in Athens and the international event we stage."

The growth of this event is one of the major legacies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens and it is no coincidence that the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) has based its headquarters in Athens since 2011.

For more information about the race and registration click here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]