Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spartathlon 2010

A Brief History
In 490 BC the Persians landed at the city of Marathon to battle with the Greeks, and the city leaders realising that they would be overpowered without a lot more soldiers sent their best foot messenger, Pheidippides, to run the 246Km to Sparta to get re-enforcements from the Spartan army.  According to the ancient Greek writer Herodotus, Phidippides managed to get to Sparta in around 36 hours!!  Then, in 1982 RAF wing commander John Foden was reading about the legendary journey of Pheidippides, and wondered if it was possible to run the same 153 mile route today.  After lots of research, he presented the most historically accurate route, which involved crossing five mountain ranges with the highest pass at Sangas of over 4000ft.
Then in 1982 Mr. Foden and two off his RAF friends decided to try and tackle the course for themselves, and stunned the world media when they managed to complete the course in less than two days.

This became the basis of the Spartathalon race as it is known today. It’s a 153 mile race from the Acropolis in Athens, along the Greek coastline and across several mountain ranges to the base of King Leonidas statue at Sparta. All of which must be completed within a strict 36 hour time limit, with intermediate cut off times! To finish this race is a dream to most, some of whom return year after year to try and complete the course. Within the distance running community it is the ultimate purest running achievement.

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