The 30th Annual Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange

Marathon logoThe 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 30th 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.

Buy online tickets here



2500 Years of Marathon History

490 B.C.

The ancient Greek messenger, Pheidippides, runs from Marathon to Athens to announce the Athenian victory over the Persians.


The Greek runner Spiros Louis wins the first modern Olympic marathon, running the distance from Marathon to the Panathenaic Stadium in 2 hours, 58 minutes and 50 seconds.

Sunday, November 8, 2016

Tony Miller and Sara Olague, winners of the random drawing from the 2015 Chevron Houston Marathon, competed in the 33rd Athens Classic Marathon.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Attend the 29th Annual Pastichio Dinner to honor the Houston-area and Greek runners who participate in the Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Two trips to compete in the 2017 Athens Authentic Marathon on November 8, 2017 will be marking the 30th year of this cultural event for Houston runners in conjunction with the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Two runners who finish under 4 hours are selected at random to run in the 35th Athens Authentic Marathon in Athens.  2017 is the 30th year for this cultural exchange program.




2017 Chevron-Houston Marathon

Weekend Schedule of Events

Thursday, January 12

29th Annual Pastichio Dinner

S.P. Martel Hall

3511 Yoakum – 7 pm

Admission:   $30 in advance

$35 at the door  * $15 Children 12 & under

Friday, January 13

Memorial Hermann


 Sports Medicine Institute EXPO
George R. Brown Convention Center

Hall A3
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Saturday, January 14

Memorial Hermann


Sports Medicine Institute EXPO
George R. Brown Convention Center

Hall A3
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Sunday, January 15

Chevron Houston Marathon &

Aramco Houston Half Marathon
Start at Congress & San Jacinto
6:45 AM Marathon & Half Wheelchair Start
7:00 AM Marathon & Half Marathon Start




Marathon logo

In conjunction with the

2017 Chevron Marathon

The Houston-Athens

Marathon Exchange


Will Award Two Prizes!


Round-Trip Tickets

From Houston to Athens

Including six night’s

accommodations & sightseeing


Entry into the 35th Athens Authentic Marathon

Prizes will be awarded through a random drawing of a male and female finisher from the Houston area finishing in 4 hours or less.

Thursday, January 12th

Come  eat a meal

Fit for the gods.


It’ll put wings on your

Feet To run a marathon

29th Annual

Pastichio Dinner

Thursday, January 12, 2017 / 7pm

 S.P. Martel Hall / 3511 Yoakum, Houston TX 

Admission:   $30 in advance

$35 at the door  * $15 Children 12 & under

Click here to buy online

Since the beginning of the Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange, volunteers have sponsored an annual pastichio  (or Greek pasta dinner) on the Thursday night prior to the Chevron Houston Marathon.  Funds from this dinner, which includes pastichio, Greek salad, baklava and one  complimentary beverage, are used to defray the costs of sending runners from Houston to Athens.  Admission to the dinner is $30 in advance, $35 at the door and $15 for children ages 12 and under.

The runners from Greece participating in the Chevron Houston Marathon, and any Houston winners of the trip to Greece in attendance, are introduced to an audience of local runners and members of the Greek-American community and other guests.  This event has been attended in recent years by many of the international runners participating in the Houston Marathon, including several of the male and female runners who have won the marathon a few days later.  Pastichio Power!!!

For more information about the dinner please contact:

Anthony Kouzounis – 713.522.2300

Dennis Moustakis – 713.977.6143 or 832.978.3762 cell

Sophie Stenis – 713.686.2084

The Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange

Consulate of Greece

Hellenic Cultural Center of the SW 

Pappas Restaurants, Inc.


Ten Reasons to Visit Athens . . .  Besides the Marathon
1. Beautiful sunshine and many happy smiles greet you as you land in Greece.
2. The great deep blue Athenian skyline provides a sensual sense of relaxation.
3. Visit the Parthenon and the New Acropolis Museum.
4. Walk through the city’s historic center in the Plaka District and the Monastiraki Flea Market.
5. The Athenian coastline is 7 miles from the city center where swimming is possible even in the fall.
6. Visit the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion only 1 hour from city center.
7. See the Panathinaikon Stadium home of the 1896 Olympics and the venue of the Athens Marathon
8. Walk through the Gazi area where the party goes on until daybreak. 
9. Homestyle restaurants feature unique Greek cuisine combining mainstream and traditional recipes at reasonable prices.
10. A positive attitude is the real essence of Greeks in the city where western civilization was born.
11. Handrian’s Arch was a tribute to the Roman Emperor Handrian, who contributed many things to the welfare of the city. Admission: Free
12. Syntagma Square is known as a location for demonstrations and it’s located across the street from the Parliament building.


Winners from Athens to Houston Year Winners from Houston to Athens  Year
John Zorzos / Magda Poulimenou 1989 Peter Baird / Margaret Ferrara 1988
Nikitas Markakis / Magda Poulimenou 1990 Peter Baird / Shirlie Lindsay 1989
George Malliaris / Sophia Sotiriadou 1991 Peter Baird / Nancy Prejean 1990
George Malliaris /  Takis Skoulis 1992 Names Unavailable 1991 / 1992
Yiorgios Sikalos / Yiannis Sirpas 1993 John Martinez / Sheila Hall 1993
Nikolaos Polias / Yiorgios Sikalos 1994 Joe Flores / Melissa Becker 1994
Elefterios Argyropoulos / Klaire Stavropoulou 1995 Vincent Dietsch / Jennifer Fisher 1995
Christos Baxevanis / Panayiota Nikolakopoulou 1996 Mark Prinzel 1996
Nikitas Markakis / Panagiota Petropoulou 1997 Matt Fontaine / Melissa Hurta 1997
Makis Kokotos / Sophia Kassimis 1998 Joe Flores / Joy Smith 1998
Vasilios Zambelis / Eleni Spiropoulou 1999 James Lawrence,Jr. / Angie Sparacino 1999
Yiorgos Sikalos / Georgia Ambodzidou 2000 James Lawrence, Jr. / Melissa Hurta 2000
Vasiliki Sikopeti / Christos Sotiroupoulos 2001 James Lawrence, Jr. / Whiz Bayou / Lisa Krsten 2001
Panayiotis Ioannidis / Aristea Nikolopoulou 2002 Drew Prisner / Jacklyn Rzcki / D.Keinz / T. Coiner 2002
Lampros Zaragas / Evangelia Vatikioti 2003 Dan Shaw / Barbara Stoll /  Roger Buak / Cortney Rica 2003
Gerasimos Kokatos / Magda Karimlis 2004 Victor Curo / Heather Walker / Elizabeth Byers 2004
Ioannis Maris / Magda Karimalis 2005 Pam Goodson 2005
Dimitrios Theodorakakos / Ekaterini Fotopoulou 2006 Tom Geczik / Vera Heg 2006
Makis Kokotas / Anna Binasi 2007 Glenn Winnier / Angela Han 2007
Ionannis Chamodrakas / Deena Stephanopoulou 2008 Steve Wisner / Bethany Walker 2008
Ionannis Chamodrakas / Heidrun Diakoumopoulos 2009 Ross Harrison / Jody Beray 2009
Dimosthenis Evangelides / Evangelia Donta 2010 Mark Giourard / Carol Schmidt 2010
Konstantinos Poulios / Maria Kalentzi                   2011 Jamie Demary / Melinda Davis 2011
Konstantinos Pouliopoulos / Vasiliki Karageorgaki 2012 Eric Lin / Mar ina Carroll 2012
Antonis Papadimitriou / Theoni Louvi 2013 Amber Swan /  Benjamin Stamets 2013
Antonis Papadimitriou / Adriani Domvrou 2014 Peter Haney / Shirin Farahani 2014
Konstantinos Poulios / Sofia Rigas 2015 Tony Miller / Sara Olague 2015
Kyriakos Symiriotis / Georgia Louvi 2016 Sean Weaver / Amy Fry 2016
Antonis Papadimitriou / Stephania Leondiadou 2017