Olympus Marathon 2017 Summary and Images – 2017 Migu Skyrunner® World Series

Olympus Marathon 2017 Summary

It’s not every day that you get to run with the gods, but nearly 1000 runners toed the line to participate in the 2017 Olympus Marathon, the next race in the Migu Skyrunner® World Series. 

The course is tough and beautiful with two directions, up and down. The first half of the race climbs from just 3m above sea level in the sacred city of Dion and the runners climb to 2700m and the impressive Mt. Olympus. Will they be a sacrifice to Zeus? From here, the race drops down and the runners retrace history and myth and finish in Litochoro.

 The race was very much controlled by two outstanding Skyrnunner’s, Aritz Egea and Ragna Debats. Egea just last weekend placed 2nd behind Tadei Pivk at the Livigno SkyMarathon, here he led from the front setting a blistering pace. Victory was never in doubt and this was confirmed when he crossed the line with a new course record 4:24:26.

 “I am feeling very good this year, I think it’s maybe the best form I have ever had. Last year I wasn’t motivated… Sometimes you need a break and I am now reaping the rewards.”

 Previous course record holder, Jessed Hernandez was 2nd in 4:43:12 and a late surge placed Kiril Nikolov 3rd ahead of local favourite and one of the pre-race favourites, Dimitrios Theodorakakos, their times 4:44:32 and 4:46:13.

 For Debats, a very full racing calendar is pushing this lady to the limits but she is handling the strain well. Under the intense heat of a Greek sky she lead the race from the front and took victory with a new course record 5:18:20.

“It was a good day, I am very happy with the victory. I will need to make sure I plan some rest but I am feeling good.”

 Laura Sola de Miguel ran in 2nd place for the whole day and this was her finishing position almost 10-minutes behind Debats in 5:32:05. Glykeria Tziatzia had run in 3rd for the duration of the race and looked strong and confident, however, in the closing miles the heat and strain of the day took over and her pace dropped allowing Hillary Allen to pass and take the final podium place in 5:37:13. A heartbroken Tziatzia crossed the line in 5:46:04 – a name to watch for the future! 

It was a long, hot and tough day for all, when crossing the line the fatigue and dehydration from a tough race was clear to see. The consensus confirmed an incredible course – beautiful and brutal!

A break in the Migu Skyrunner World Series next weekend will see the action continue in Spain and France, with the Buff Epic Trail and High Trail Vanoise.

 

Royal Parks Ultra

The inaugural Royal Parks Ultra took place today on a sunny and warm day in the capital. London really is quite a beautiful place when the sun shines on it!

A misty cool morning gave away to blue skies and warm temperatures.

I was at the race with the very kind help and cooperation of Salomon who had two star athletes taking part;

 Dimitrios Theodorakakos and Silvia Serafinii

They both won! Silvia running so quickly that she was 4th overall and this may very well have been a top 3 had she not been of course multiple times through poor course marking and complacent marshalling. Dimitrios ran 3:25:19 and Silvia 3:39:15.

Dimitrios almost lost the race due to errors from course marking and marshalling…. from a comfortable lead he ended up being neck and neck with 2nd place Julian Rendell  and then pushed away again in the closing stages to secure victory!

Dimitrios said “the course markings are terrible and the marshals are too busy on phones… by the time they realised I was there it was too late… six times I went of course. The organisers seriously need to look at some significant improvements for next year!’

Silvia confirmed “I went off course so many times… it’s terrible! If I am running a ‘marked’ course I want it to be marked. Today was too stressful. It as all very well when running slower and you have the time to look around but if you are racing I just want to concentrate on speed and effort… not worrying if I am course”

Not great! Considering the ultra had a small field in comparison to the Half Marathon (12,000) the race had some great pluses. A wonderful course around the parks of London, post race massage, good food provisions post race and a great setting. If only they could get the course marking to that standard… in addition, each runner got a wooden medal; a nice touch!

This race has great potential and will be a perfect race for those venturing up from marathon distance. It includes road and easy trail and at 50k it is the perfect step up distance.

Here are images from the day.