The Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange (HAME), a non-profit group of volunteers, is the only program of its type in the United States.
Founded in 1988 by George Sarantopoulos, an avid runner who participated in the Athens and Houston marathons, and several fellow Greek-Americans, the HAME was envisioned as an exchange program linking the ancient Greek running tradition with the modern international
marathons to foster good will between two great nations. The idea was so successful it was created with the full blessing and support of Melina Mercouri, Minister of Culture in Greece. The marathon organization has continued this unique exchange and is now in its 31st year.
The Athens Classic Marathon
Founded in 1982, the Athens Authentic Marathon attracts Greek runners as well as many international runners. The finish line is located at the Panathenaic Stadium, where a crowd of 70,000 spectators once cheered Spiros Louis to victory, and the 2004 Olympic Games marathoners. Its course approximates the run by Pheidippedes in 490 BC and Spiros Louis in 1896.