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36th Spartathlon Ultra-Marathon race


Spartathlon, one of the most demanding races in the world, whose course covers a total distance of 245 km between Athens and the historic city of Sparta, will be taking place once more this September with the participation of professional long-distance runners from all over the world.

Spartathlon, which is now on its 36th year, is a 245-kilometre (153 miles) ultramarathon race held annually in Greece since 1984 and takes place between Athens and Sparta, the modern town located at the site of the former city-state of ancient Sparta. The race has its origins back in ancient times as it follows in the footsteps of Phedippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek aid against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. According to accounts by Greek historian Herodotus, Phedippides managed to run the distance between Sparta and Athens in only a day and a half.

Given its unique history, race profile, running conditions and strict cut-off times, the Spartathlon Ultra-Marathon is one of the most difficult and at the same time rewarding ultra-distance races in the world. The race, whose altitude difference ranges from sea level to 1.200m, includes a combination of roads, namely tarmac, trails and footpaths, and has a 36 hours cut-off time (or a day and a half, same as Phedippides) thus making it one of the toughest races for participants to test their strength and endurance.

This year’s race, that will take place on 28-29 September 2018, kicks off at 7 am at the foot of the Acropolis Hill and finishes at 7 pm on the next day at the imposing statue of King Leonidas in Sparta. Its iconic trail takes runners through muddy paths, across vineyards and olive groves and up steep hills with its biggest challenge to this day being the 1.200-meter ascent up Mount Parthenion in the middle of the night.

The idea for this ultra-marathon came from John Foden, a British RAF Wing Commander, who in 1982 decided to run the distance between Athens and Sparta along with four of his colleagues. The first international Spartathlon race was held in 1983 with the participation of 45 runners from 11 countries and in 1984 Spartathlon International Association was established. Since then the race has become a major annual sports event with more than 400 participants from over 50 countries registering each year for this demanding race, which according to statistics only about a third manages to successfully complete and reach the finish line.

The race is organized by Spartathlon International Association, since the latter was first established in 1984.

For more info about Spartathlon please see here: https://www.spartathlon.gr/en

Photo © Spartathlon International Association / Sparta Photography Club

 

36th Spartathlon Ultra-Marathon race

28/09/2018 - 29/09/2018

Hours - Comments
Date: 28-29 September 2018¦ Location: Athens and Sparta ¦ Start and finish lines: The race starts at the foot of the Acropolis Hill in central Athens and finishes at the statue of Leonidas at the city of Sparta in the Peloponnese - for more details please see the organizers’ website ¦ Event times: For the detailed times of the race please see the official Spartathlon website ¦More info: https://www.spartathlon.gr/en


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