Spartathlon Preview

Twenty fours hours ago I sat down to write just a brief preview of two other races that would be taking place this weekend for those who may not be following Cavalls del Vent (not sure why that would happen). Firstly, Spartathlon.

Spartathlon is due to start as I write this, 0700 Friday. I guess ‘the race’ that got us all running! It is iconic in the ultra world for many reasons. The distance at 153 miles needs no explanation… it’s a long way. Taking place pretty much all on uninspiring road they throw in a tough mountain at around the 100 mile mark just to mess you up a little more oh and then they have cut off times throughout the race that you must achieve if you want to keep going.

2012 represents the races 30th birthday of the race that is conducted in the footsteps of Pheidippides, the ancient Athenian runner. Pheidippides was sent to Sparta in 490 BC, before the battle of Marathon, to ask for help in the war led by the Greeks against the Persians. According to Herodotus, Pheidippides arrived in Sparta the day after his departure from Athens.

The race has iconic winners and I guess the most notable are Yiannis Kouros who still has the record of 20:25 and Scott Jurek who won the race three times.

Just over 350 will take part this year and they represent over 30 countries. Greece always has plenty of participants but the race is also iconic within Japan. Many of the contenders such as , Noto Kimi winner in 04/05, Akiko Sakamoto winner in 07 and then 4 years earlier in 03, Sumie Inagaki who won in 09 and finally Hiroko Okiyama who I guess is an outsider as she won the race some 12 years ago in 2000. Last years winner though, Szilvia Lubics from Hungary is returning. Notable 2012 entrant is Lizzy Hawker, I spoke to Lizzy several times in recent weeks and months and she is fired up for this iconic race. Her prep was going to be UTMB and then come to Spartathlon, but with UTMB being shortened (she won again) she decided to squeeze in the gap a 100 mile race (as you do) the Run Rabbit Run (which she won). Anybody else and you would think 100 miler just a few weeks before Spartathlon; crazy! But we are talking about Lizzy! Her main issue is a fall she took early in RRR in which she banged her knee seriously. Just a few days ago she sent me a message and I quote:

“Hi Ian, thanks so so much for your good wishes for Spartathlon!!!! I’m really grateful …. need a little bit of magic out there 🙂 knee improves every day, but will it be good enough? & the head & heart?!! enjoy Cavals, I’ll be thinking of you all there :). best, Lizzy”

Lizzy at 2012 UTMB

If Lizzy has a ‘Lizzy’ day then she will be incredible. No doubt. Her 100k and 24hr times are prove enough of what she can do. Another UK entrant, Claire Shelley may well figure well. She has won the Grand Union Canal race in the UK which is 145 miles running up and down the Canal systems of the Midlands (I still don’t understand why?)

The mens race will be a battle. I just wish Mike Morton was toeing the line… after his Badwater performance and his 24 hour record I would love to see what he could do here.

Ivan Cudin from Italy, returns to defend his title but notably Valmir Nunes from Brazil, winner in 01 returns. Valmir holds the CR at Badwater which Morton missed by 75 seconds in the 2012 edition. Markus Thalmann from Austria won in 03 and had great races in 04 and 05.

My money is on Cudin and Hawker… and you?

You can follow the race live HERE

The 2012 program is available as a PDF HERE

 

 

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