Athens put the marathon world centre stage in the AIMS Gala ceremony broadcast live on the national television channel ERT on Friday evening as the achievements of four outstanding personalities of the international running scene were celebrated. The Kenyans Gladys Cherono and Eliud Kipchoge were elected AIMS Marathon Runners of the Year while Horst Milde from Germany and Japan’s Hiroaki Chosa were honoured in sharing the AIMS Lifetime Achievement Award. Other awards included the AIMS Green Award to the Lucerne Marathon in Switzerland and the Belgrade Marathon received the AIMS Social Award. The Gala was organised jointly by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS). On Sunday SEGAS will stage the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” on the original marathon course, beginning in the town of Marathon and finishing in the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium in Athens. This year the race has attracted a record entry of 18,750.

“It is symbolic that we are holding this Gala in such a historic place. Over 2,500 years ago the Battle of Marathon took place here and this is also the birthplace of the Olympic Games and the Marathon. It is our duty to bring even more people to the sport of running,” said Kostas Panagopoulos, President of SEGAS, in the Megaro Concert Hall in Athens.

Gladys Cherono, winner of the Berlin Marathon in September with the year’s best time of 2:18:11 and now fourth fastest runner in history, said at the awards ceremony: “I am very proud to have been awarded this honour as the best woman marathon runner of the year.” The 35-year-old added that she is confident she could improve on her time in Berlin.

Eliud Kipchoge delivered his message via video link to the Gala audience since the Kenyan was unable to attend: “I’m delighted and grateful to have been awarded this honour once again by AIMS and for your great support,” said the 34-year-old, who took one minute, 18 seconds off the world record when he ran 2:01:39 in Berlin in September, the biggest improvement on the marathon world record in more than 50 years.

Hiroaki Chosa from Japan was AIMS President from 1994 to 2010. Now 88, he was unable to attend but sent this message: “It is a great honour for me to receive this distinction. I thank all of you who make it possible that people can enjoy running in races.”

It was in 1964 that Horst Milde founded the first mass Cross Country race in Berlin and the Berlin Marathon ten years later which has progressed to becoming one of the world’s top races: “Running is my life and my family has shared this passion with me. So I dedicate this honour to my family.” During his time as race director Horst Milde organised 348 events with over 1.25 million participants. “I thank the Greek nation for giving the marathon to the world,” said the 80-year-old.

The international significance of the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” was also emphasised by Nikos Pappas, Greece’s Minister for Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media. “The Athens Marathon strengthens the international standing of our entire country,” said the minister.

Past AIMS Award Winners

Best Marathon Runner of the Year


2018 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2017 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2016 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2015 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2014 Dennis Kimetto (KEN)
2013 Wilson Kipsang (KEN)


2018 Gladys Cherono (KEN)
2017 Mary Keitany (KEN)
2016 Jemima Sumgong (KEN)
2015 Mare Dibaba (ETH)
2014 Florence Kiplagat (KEN)
2013 Edna Kiplagat (KEN)

Lifetime Achievement Award

2018 Horst Milde (GER)
Hiroaki Chosa (JPN)
2017 Rosa Mota (POR)
2016 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)
2015 Frank Shorter (USA)
2014 George Hirsch (USA)
2013 Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR)