Sunday, 13 November 2011

My Big Fat Greek Marathon - the Athens Marathon

We rose very earlier this morning and headed out in what the locals are referring to as January weather.

There were several buses waiting. They were warm and they had very cushy seats. The ride took about an hour to the stadium in Marathon. Once we arrived, we were able to wait inside the change rooms at the stadium. While we waited we were able to watch runners go through all of their pre race rituals. Interesting....

We lined up at the start line and I have to say that this start was the most organized start I've been in. Based on everyone's estimated finish time all runners were assigned a rank which was also printed on your bib. There were stern warnings of disqualification is runners went into the wrong rank. Each rank was divided by tape and runners were moved to the start in one minute intervals after the elites. This was awesome because it meant that there was no weaving around people who put themselves too close to the start.

This race was huge, but not congested. I did loose Rick and Tracey before 5k and didn't find them until the end of the race. I walked through every other water station but couldn't find them for all of the crowds. After 20k I stopped looking for them and settled into the race. I wasn't able to talk to too many other runners because not very many people spoke English. But I did focus on the scenery and the fact that I was runner somewhere close to the original marathon route.

The crowds were pretty sparse until 18k but then there were groups of people yelling "Bravo!". It was amazing. I had my usual adrenal rush as I ran the last kilometer into the stadium. As I ran onto the track I heard Dan yell my name. It was music to my ears. It was the first time I had heard a familiar voice in hours. I turned and ran backwards waving at him. Then I danced across the finish line! Thank god I didn't faceplant.

I think this is the way to run a marathon. It was my slowest time, but I feel amazing and it was the most fun I've had in s msrsthon. We're heading out for dinner soon. I hope the rolling streets go Athens are kind to my tired legs. Now for a few pics....

Me with my medal.

Panoramic view of the stadium.

Three happy runners!

Race shirt and medal. Oh look it's a white shirt.

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