A Stevenage runner is set to take part in the Authentic Athens Marathon this November.

The Comet: Daniel 'Danik' Bates training in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. Picture: Daniel BatesDaniel 'Danik' Bates training in Kinderdijk, Netherlands. Picture: Daniel Bates (Image: Archant)

Daniel ‘Danik’ Bates is a member of the Stevenage Striders running club and has secured his spot in the prestigious race.

The 35-year-old said: “It’s really difficult for overseas runners to get a place.

“A lot of the elite African runners use it for training so there will be plenty of good runners.

“I was really surprised when I got the email saying I had a place.”

The Comet: Daniel 'Danik' Bates during the Zermatt Mountain Marathon. Picture: Daniel BatesDaniel 'Danik' Bates during the Zermatt Mountain Marathon. Picture: Daniel Bates (Image: Archant)

The route Danik will run is similar to the one taken by Pheidippides in the Greek legend that inspired the marathon race.

The story tells that the messenger ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens without stopping – a distance of around 26 miles – to inform the people of the Greek capital that the Athenian army had defeated the Persians, despite being greatly outnumbered.

After proclaiming ‘Joy, we win!’, he collapsed and died.

It was this legend that inspired Danik to start running.

“Ever since studying ancient Greek history at school and learning about the legend of the Battle of Marathon, I have been interested in running,” he said.

“Running the Athens Authentic Marathon has been on my bucket list for a while as it’s such a historic route.”

As a travel blogger, Danik runs a marathon in all the countries he visits.

Among the list of his 27 races. he has completed courses in Switzerland, Latvia and Hawaii.

Danik isn’t expecting the Athens course to be too challenging, and is looking to post a good time having just returned from injury.

“Thankfully, with the race being in November, the temperature will be between 12 and 15 degrees – so not too hot,” he said.

“I’ve had a look at the course and the first four miles are downhill and then fairly flat with a few hills.

“It’s a lot like Stevenage in a way.

I am treating this as a proper run. I will be wearing my Stevenage Stiders kit.

“I’ve been out injured with an achilles injury, so I’m just coming back to fitness.

“I’m hoping for a time around 3.30 because of this, and hopefully I can starting getting times under three hours next year.”