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Former England international Fabian Delph said he was “eating humble the whole way” after taking part in his first marathon on Sunday.

Delph, who won two Premier League titles with Manchester City, announced his retirement from football in September after leaving Everton upon the expiration of his Everton contract.

But the 32-year-old has been keeping himself busy and staying fit. On Sunday, the ex Aston Villa and Leeds man participated in the Athens Marathon, widely deemed to be one of the most difficult in the world.

The course, which begins in the town of Marathon, is completely uphill from the 10km mark to the 31km mark.

To make matters worse, the temperature was around 22 degrees on the day – making it a quite brutal experience.

Stocked up with energy gels, the tough-tackling midfielder soldiered through and finished with a time of 3 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds.

He came 3229 out of around 15,000 overall runners and although he didn’t quite achieve the time he wanted, he was happy with how the debut race went.

Image: Fabian DelphTaking to Instagram, Delph wrote: “We got it done, my first marathon and I was heating humble pie the whole way. The middle section is a 20k climb in 22 degrees. Didn’t hit my target but a sub 4 hour I will take, see you next year Athens.”

Delph followed in the footsteps of Bayern Munich and Netherlands Arjen Robben, who took part in the Rotterdam Marathon earlier this year.

Fans are used to seeing Robben dart down the right flank and cut in on the left flank but this time he was maintaining a steady pace.

Robben ran alongside Erben Wennemars, a former Dutch speed skater who set three world records during his career and completed the 26.2 mile course in three hours, 13 minutes and 40 seconds.

Afterwards he said the race “wasn’t really fun” and it was “a real fight”, but thanked the spectators for helping get him through it.