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A volunteer's letter to the 2017 race Spartathletes

Spartathletes,

I am taking the opportunity to write this as I won’t be able to be alongside your journey this year. After 13 years of education, it is now time to proceed to university. I’m both nervous and excited, but simultaneously gutted as my course starts before the Spartathlon.

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Race Report 2016: Angela Terzi

Ο Κομφούκιος είχε πει πως η μεγαλύτερη νίκη μας δεν είναι πως δεν πέφτουμε ποτέ, αλλά πως κάθε φορά που πέφτουμε, σηκωνόμαστε και πάλι. Όσοι  έζησαν τις προσπάθειες μου, με είδαν δυο φορές να πέφτω, αλλά κάθε φορά να σηκώνομαι και να επιμένω. Έτσι με θράσος μπήκα τρίτη φορά στον αγώνα με ένα διαρκές πέπλο μιας ακόμα αποτυχίας να αιωρείται πάνω από την καταρρακωμένη αυτοπεποίθησή μου. Αλλά φέτος ήταν όλα αλλιώς.

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Race Report 2016: British Spartathlon Team

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped, supported or contributed to the British Spartathlon Team in 2016 in whatever capacity. We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey! Runners had adopted various strategies in their build up to Spartathlon, with the ultimate goal of course of reaching Sparta. Some runners also opted to head out to Athens earlier in order to combine some pre-race relaxation and acclimatisation. 

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Race Report 2016: Ian Thomas

The long tortuous wait was finally over and after another year of tough training, much discussion and some improved results, the biggest test of my metal was beckoning once again. The Iconic Spartathlon! This is without a shadow of doubt the toughest challenge I personally have ever faced but I absolutely love this historic race!

Last year on my debut I was delighted to finish in a time of 31:33:53 and third British runner, which was a great bonus, but the British team on the whole enjoyed great success with the best British finish percentage in years (62%)

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Race Report 2016: Panagiotis Maltezos

Κατ αρχήν και μετα από 15 μέρες , θέλω να συγχαρώ από καρδιάς κι από εδώ όλους τους δρομείς που έλαβαν μέρος στον αγώνα . Ασχέτως αποτελέσματος , αν τερμάτισαν η όχι . Επίσης πάρα πολλά συγχαρητήρια στους Εθελοντές , στου Φωτογράφους, στους Διασώστες ,στους Διοργανωτές… και όλους όσοι βοήθησαν να βγεί είς πέρας αυτός ο αγώνας . Για τον αγώνα αυτόν, ότι και να πω , θα είναι πολύ λίγο …άλλωστε πολλοί άνθρωποι , δρομείς και μη , έχουν κατά καιρούς γράψει τι σημαίνει και τι είναι αυτός ο αγώνας και τώρα που αξιώθηκα και έλαβα μέρος , μπορώ να …σας τα επιβεβαιώσω κι εγώ και να προσθέσω ΄΄…και λίγα είπαν ΄!!!

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Race Report 2016: Vasilis Perikelous

Σπάρταθλον, ο αγώνας στόχος της χρονιάς και ο αγώνας που ήτανε στο μυαλό μου τα τελευταία 5-6 χρόνια. Θυμάμαι από το 2010 που έβλεπα από τον υπολογιστή την ζωντανή διεξαγωγή του αγώνα και έμενα εντυπωσιασμένος από τα νούμερα που έβλεπα, τον αριθμό των χλμ και από την διάρκεια του αγώνα.
Ο καιρός πέρασε και έφτασε η ώρα για μένα να τρέξω και εγώ σε αυτόν τον περιβόητο αγώνα. Η προετοιμασία ουσιαστικά ξεκίνησε από το 2015 τρέχοντας κυρίως σε αγώνες υπεραπόστασης ασφάλτου.

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Race Report 2016: David Niblack

For the long distance runner, the Spartathlon is a kind of Matterhorn. It has the ingredients of an epic: a finish line that stretches a long, long way from the start; 153 miles, almost six consecutive marathons. There is a big mountain at the 100 mile mark, a big city at the start, a big cold night in the middle, and a big percentage of runners who don’t make it. The race has international prestige and gathers runners from all corners of the world. To top it off, the course claims a remarkable history. According to Herodotus, in 490 B.C the Athenian runner Philippides left Athens and arrived in Sparta the next day. His legendary run was for the purpose of asking the Spartans for help against the invading Persians before the conflict that would lead to the battle of Marathon. It was a run to save democracy, a run to save the foundations of Western culture.

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Race Report 2016: Bob Hearn

There is nothing else like Spartathlon. Last year, I ran it for the first time. It was an incredible experience, and I knew almost before it even started that I would have to come back. It is, indeed, The Greatest Footrace on Earth. Last year, I set an aggressive best-case goal of under 30 hours. I had some rough patches, but managed to pull it together and run 29:35, which I was absolutely thrilled with. Only a small handful of Americans have ever run under 30 hours.

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Race Report 2016: Pam Smith

The truth is, Spartathlon was never a "dream" race for me, more like a "eh, that might be interesting some day" kind of race. But my friend Bob Hearn ran it last year and was enamored with it and my running partner Dennis was also quite interested in it and spent time talking about how cool it would be to do. So when the application period opened in January and Bob told me I had till May before I had to commit any money, I thought I would throw my name in the hat. Well, that was a very slippery slope! Sending in an application meant spending time on the website and learning a bit more about the race, so that by the time the lottery results came out, there was no way I was turning down my spot. (I met the auto-qualification standards by being at least 20% faster than the regular qualification standard of 24 hrs for a 100M run, so it wasn't exactly a shock that I got in, but I was still super excited to see the "Congratulations, you have been accepted to Spartathlon" email!). Well, on to Greece!

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Race Report 2016: David Le Broch

J’ai beaucoup d’appréhension avant cette course dantesque, c’est la première fois que je me lance sur une distance de 246 km et avec ma maman l’aventure est toujours un peu pimentée (Souvenir de notre première association lors du 100km de Royan en 2012, mémorable) Cette appréhension me fait passer des nuits très courtes avec un petit carnet sur la table de nuit pour marquer des choses que je sais déjà, mais bon on ne se refait pas, c’est souvent le même rituel avant une course.

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Race Report 2016: Aykut Celikbas

According to dictionary.com, "the moment of truth" is described as the moment at which one's character, courage, skill, etc., is put to an extreme test. In the civilized world, it's all about being more and more comfortable and we rarely face these moments in our regular lives. When it comes to ultrarunning, they are more common. There are critical moments in every race when you have to make a tough decision such as stopping or going on. I would argue that one of the reasons most of us do this crazy sport is to face those moments as we try to conquer our doubts and insecurities.

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Race Report 2016: Rodrigo Freeman

In 2007 whilst working full time and attending Uni in the evenings I put on a bit of weight; there just wasn’t time to exercise, or so I thought. I got the shock of my life when my favourite pair of jeans no longer fitted and I decided to do something about it. Ryan Spencer sold me my first pair of running shoes and he was also responsible for planting the seed of ultra-running in my brain even before I had set foot on the store's treadmill…

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Described as the world's most grueling race, the Spartathlon runs over rough tracks and muddy paths (often it rains during the race), crosses vineyards and olive groves, climbs steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200 meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.
This is the mountain, covered with rocks and bushes, on which it is said Pheidippides met the god Pan.

Spartathlon is the event that brings this deed to attention today by drawing a legend out of the depths of history. The idea for its creation is belongs to John Foden, a British RAF Wing Commander. As a lover of Greece and student of ancient Greek history, Foden stopped his reading of Herodotus' narration regarding Pheidippides, puzzled and wondering if a modern man could cover the distance from Athens to Sparta, i.e. 250 kms, within 36 hours.

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