For many marathon runners, the year's ultimate event is in Boston, but this year, the marathon in Athens is grabbing top honours.

It's the 2500th anniversary of the original marathon, the 42-kilometre dash made by the legendary Phidippedes to announce that the Athenians had defeated the Persians in the battle of Marathon.

Montrealer Spyros Montzenigos will be participating in the Greek event, special because it will be his 50th marathon, it's in his homeland, and he will be 74 years old.

"My mental and physical food is running," said Montzenigos.

He began training for marathons in 1979, 16 years after he immigrated to Montreal.

Despite his age, said he is in good health and doesn't take any medication or regularly visit a doctor.

"I never smoked in my life, I gave blood all my life and I run," he said.

Montzenigos has completed the Montreal Marathon five times, but he has looking forward to the Oct. 31 run in Greece, tracing the steps of Phidippedes between Marathon and Athens, finishing in the Olympic stadium.

"It was in my head for many, many years," said Montzenigos.

Montzenigos last ran in Greece in 1987, but this time is even more significant.

"It's the anniversary of 2500 years; I want to go very badly," he said.

In his homeland, Montzenigos will receive his 50th participation medal, and the 73-year-old runner says there is only one thing that could top the experience: completing a marathon with one of his grandchildren.