Spartathlon 2015, the legendary race Ante Portas!

Από 23 Σεπ 2015

Just a few days remain for a race that has written its name with golden letters in the book of Ultrarunning History. Spartathlon revives, in the best possible way, the glorious march of 'hemorodromus' Pheidippides who ran from Athens to Sparta to seek help in the name of the war against the Persian Empire about 2.500 years ago. Spartathlon however, is not known just because of its great historic aspect which is undeniable, but also because of its excessive difficulty that sometimes has brought to knees some of the strongest athletes in the world.

Throughout the longtime history of Spartathlon, not a few world-class athletes have honored our country and the race itself, trying to reach the statue of King Leonidas to pay homage to the Spartan king and cool themselves with holy water from Evrotas river. Surrounded by hundreds of other athletes from Greece and all over the world will ploid, sweat, sore and give their best to reach their own Ithaca after a several months trip, certainly of equally difficult mental and physical preparation. This year could be of no exception, so we did not lose the opportunity to hear from athletes who except from finishing the race which is always the main objective, they will give their best and compete each others to finish in at the best possible position and if possible to conquer victory. So ... ladies first!

 

Traci Falbo


I am so excited and thrilled to be part of such an amazing race! The history and traditions of this race make it extra special. I cannot wait to see the course. I have heard so much about the beautiful coastline, the people who support the course along the way, and the arrowing mountain. This race has so many things that challenge a runner: hills/mountains, LONG distance, heat, terrain changes, etc…anything can  happen! I am hopeful to finish and relish in the traditions in Sparta at the end of the race. The competitive field adds another tier to the race  excitement.

I had to take some time off in early July that I hadn’t originally planned, but I have trained as well as I could have in the time I had to be as competitive as possible. I always set multiple goals when racing. I would like to 1. Finish, 2. Run sub-30, 3. Run sub-27, 4. Podium. I always set big goals, so we will just see what happens. Like any other ultra, sometimes the stars align and things go well…and sometimes you gut it out for hours on end. Every race is different and I cannot wait to toe the line and follow in Pheidippides footsteps!

 

Traci Falbo

 

Léonie van den Haak

As a relative newcomer in the ultrarunning world, finishing Spartathlon in 2012 meant so much to me. The history of the race is simply epic, the distance is beyond many people's imagination and it happened to be a brutally hot edition in 2012. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but the feeling of running up to King Leonidas after those burning hot 246km was simply amazing. Therefore I am stoked to be back again this year (but I do hope temperatures will be a bit kinder to us.

With 3 more years of experience I now have a better understanding of what it means to run such a big race. A perfect preparation is no guarantee for success, but it absolutely helps to improve your chances of finishing. Along the way so many things can happen: some things you can plan, other things simply happen to you and you need to learn to deal with the situation the best way possible. To me, that is what makes ultrarunning - and Spartathlon in particular - so special.

I'm looking forward to the race and to the amazing volunteers along the way that help every runner reach their goals. I truly hope all of us will be able to make it to the finish and have a great party afterwards to celebrate the success.

 

Léonie van den Haak

 

Katalin Nagy

I started running ultra-marathons 3 years ago. I had this big dream to participate in a Spartathlon one day and last year it has become a reality. I enjoyed the race tremendously and was very pleased that I was able to complete it. The Spartathlon is a unique race and has a very special atmosphere. The warm support and kind words of the Greek people cheered me on and provided me with great energy throughout. And what I truly like about this race and it really stands out for me that all runners who complete the race are celebrated at the finish line as heroes, despite of their finishing results, positions or ranks.

I have started preparations for this year's race after the World Championships in April. I run 6 times a week, I have a coach who helps me with my training plan. This year I anticipate a very strong women's devision. My personal goal is to improve on my race time. I feel strong and prepared both physically and mentally, however I am fully aware of that during a long and demanding race like this anything could happen. The week before the Spartathlon I am spending time with my family, which will distract me from the excitement leading up to the race, and their love and support will recharge me and galvanize me at the same time.

 

Katalin Nagy

 

Alyson Venti


When I started running ultras about 3 years ago I never thought I would one day step foot on the starting line in Athens. Spartathlon is such an iconic and elite international race, I never dreamed I would one day be a part of it. It truly is an honor and a challenge I am excited to embrace.

When I signed up for Spartathlon I had high goals of placing, but I have struggled this year with lack of training due to injury and haven’t competed at the level I know I am capable of. It has been very frustrating which has created additional mental barriers for me to hurtle. My performance at the 24hour world championships in Italy was a great disappointment. I was struggling with injury and spent most of June training in a pool but still tried to compete at Badwater in July where I ended up DNFing for the first time. Considering my poor performances, I wasn’t sure I was going to compete in Spartathlon, but I didn’t want to let the opportunity to compete in such an incredible race pass by. 

My training since Badwater has been much better and I was able to get my weekly mileage back up to normal (about 200-215 miles/week). It feels SO nice to be able to train again! Despite feeling more like myself, my goals for Spartathlon are not what they were when I first signed up. I hope to go out conservatively and to just run and enjoy the amazing landscape and scenery. I don’t think I have a chance to place, not with such amazing athletes like Szilvia, Katy and Traci among others in the field. Instead, I want to embrace the opportunity to be among such incredible athletes and run on such a legendary course and have fun.

Throughout this journey I have been supported by my loving boyfriend, Teddy, who has been by my side for every ultra I have ever run. DII computers and their president Tom Drummond has made my dreams of racing these past 2 years a reality. I am also supported by Compressort USA, Pink Sirens, Pearl Izumi, and forever supported by IRun and the IRun family.

I am very grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to make this race possible to us athletes and I look forward to seeing everyone in Athens next week!

 

Alyson Venti

 

Ivan Cudin

My preparation for the Spartathlon has never started. In the last months because of important work commitments, some business trips, family issues and tendon pains I was not allowed to train decently. I'm terribly slow and could not perform the correct training for the adaptation to such a long distance race. I am aware that in the future the space that I want to give to my family and the commitments will furtherly increase and it will be impossible to pretend not to feel the severe pains in the tendon and in the hip which I am suffering, so this will be one of the last ultramarathons that I can try to run. For this reason this edition has a special meaning for me: I definitely want to reach the Leonida’s statue in the allowed time limit with my legs.

I know I can count on the strength that gives me the hug of many friends that virtually will run with me. My family and the guys in wheelchairs that belong to the voluntary associations to which I am a member since 1996 will give me a special boost.

I definitely love this race, after finishing each edition the desire to touch one more time the foot of Leonida is my sweetest dream. I'll try to reach Sparta again, enjoy as usual the race that I consider the most beautiful in the world. I lived the most strong emotions of my sporting life in the Spartathlon. I'm sure that I'll live again these feelings, renewing the ties that I have for the people of Greece.

I will have to overcome many more obstacles for my poor training this year, but it will make me feel even closer to those things that give a special charm to Spartathlon: the cheers of children running and cycling that infinitely help me, the generous smile of the wonderful volunteers awake all the night long, the kindness and hospitality of the people that I meet in the remote villages, the sympathy of the people who remember me and try to tell me words in Italian, the closeness of so many friends who encourage me along the ways and in Sparta, the unforgettable landscapes that I pass through during the race, the priceless feeling of running through the history.

I feel obliged to end with special thanks to all the volunteers and organizers that allow us to take shape and make real the dream of dreams for a runner.

 

Ivan Cudin

 

Kim Hansen

Spartathlon is one from some very big races as I have been looking forward to for many years. I have always been deeply intrigued by the race. The race's history which is incredibly legendary and the challenges which the Spartathlon offers with changing temperatures and time limits, as
well as the large distance. I think it's hard to describe the expectations for the race, as Spartathlon can be very different when you are experiencing for real, and not just in my imagination. I know it will be a huge experience, and incredibly hard.

I always run according to how I feel it works correctly, therefore, it has also been on the heat training, as you can in a country such as Denmark. The training tool has passed of winter attire for the last 4 weeks even if the temperature is set at 10c to 20c then I train with
winter clothes as if there is snow and ice. So I hope it will help me a little if the temperature becomes hot. Otherwise, I have been training for since the World Championships in Turin, it's been very different training, my training is enough on 2/3 asphalt and 1/3 trail running. The exercise is usually with two training sessions a day. I hope for a fantastic experience throughout the Spartathlon, the days leading up to the race, during the race and after the race.

 

Kim Hansen

 

Jan Albert Lantink

Annie Lantink-Ferguson my mother sait to me in her last weeks ( 2011): In life you cannot take all the starts out of heaven, but you can try

I was starting Ultrarunning in 2006 at the age of 48n years. I was second in a flat Ultrarace of 72km in Germany . The main goal when I started, was to finish once in my life the Spartathlon. It goes a little bit different. My first 100k was in 2006 in &:41 without special training. In 2012 I run 6:56 in Germany ( 54 years).

I like the competition. Age for me is not an issue. Ultrarunning is a sport with both physical and mental aspects. I liked that. Spartathlon is a historical race. The name of Yannis Kouros is known also in our country the Netherlands The race take place in the land of the origin of our civilization. There where it all started. A lot of people don’t know that when you read the articles about Greece in the papers My trainer said that I have a very strong will to compete. Mike Morton gave me the name warrior after I blow myself up after 206km in 2013. I don’t care about the prestige of other runners.

I work with a team. Emilia my eldest daughter (19) was always there in the Spartathlon. In 2007 she was 11 years old, now 19 years. She was me also in other races and also my youngest daughter Rosaline and my wife. Two very good friends Jeroen and Lennart are also with me in 2015.

I want to give my best and I am willing to go very deep. I run this year the Ultrabalaton 221km in a new record time 18 hour 37 (it could be faster…). I finished there with a Dutch flag and a Greek flag. Not to become popular but set a statement. I don’t like the negative talk about Greece the last years. I like the Greek and special all those helpers who care about you day and night 246 km long. At the moment in preparing the race I have Greek friends helping me with a lot of things.

I train very early in the morning 4:30Am/ 5:00 Am and than a second training several days in the week. I run with my Club MPM Hengelo on Monday and Friday (progressive long runs and interval (300/ 400 800/ 1000) It gave me more speed and as a result I ran the Muritzlauf 75 km in Germany in 4:58:04 ( 2013 ). In the weekends hillrunning in Germany . In the Netherlands the highest hill is 300meter….and then only one
I think that all the runners have to think that we are very lucky we can run this historical and beautiful race. We also must have respect for the organization and all the nice Greek helpers who help you to finish. Greece can be very proud that it organizes this race.

Whatever the finishing time is of the winner, whatever ticker parade he will get, it will never be the finishing time of the best of all Yanis Kouros, a Greek runner.

 

Jan Albert Lantink

 

Florian Reus

This year it’s the fourth time that I’m taking part in the Spartathlon. After the World Championships it’s my second highlight in 2015. Above all, I’m looking forward to the special atmosphere. My aim is to get a great result and to improve last year’s time, which was just under 24 hours. My training has been very successful and I haven’t had a single injury or a cold during the whole preparation for the Spartathlon. In the past few years I sometimes have had problems with the high temperatures in Greece. Thus, this year’s very hot summer in Germany was a huge advantage for me, as I could get used to the heat by running many units in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day. I’m very excited about the race and look forward to meeting many runners, which I haven’t had seen in a long time, in Athens.

 

Florian Reus

 

Many thanks to all who responded to our call, it's been a great honour. See you on the road to Sparta!

Τάκης Τσογκαράκης

Η αγάπη του για το βουνό ξεκινάει πολλά χρόνια πίσω με τις πρώτες αναβάσεις στην αγαπημένη του Πάρνηθα και μετέπειτα με την σχολή Ορειβασίας του ΕΟΣ Αχαρνών. Το 2007 έτρεξε τον πρώτο του αγώνα ορεινού τρεξίματος και από τότε ονειρεύεται "όλο και ψηλότερα, όλο και μακρύτερα". Ελπίζει να το κάνει για πολλά χρόνια ακόμα...

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