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Spartathlon 2019

One of the world's toughest races covers the distance from Athens to Sparta

This ultra-marathon race covering a distance of 250 km or 152 miles is definitely one of the biggest challenges to one's endurance. The roots of this race lie deep in ancient history. According to Herodotus, the ancient Athenian runner Pheidippides ran to Sparta to ask for help to fight the Persians before the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Apparently, it took him 36 hours and now this goal is set for modern ultra-marathoners too.

The idea for this ultra-marathon came from John Foden, a British RAF Wing Commander, and the first race was held in 1983 with 45 runners from 11 countries taking part. It takes years for athletes to prepare for this race. The Spartathlon's trail runs on muddy paths, across vineyards, and through olive gardens. The biggest challenge is the 1,200-meter ascent up Mount Parthenion in the middle of the night.

Spartathlon takes place annually in late September.

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