Sparthathlon race begins in Athens on Friday
The 246-kilometre Spartathlon — an ultramarathon race tracking the route taken by ancient Athenian runner Pheidippides in 490 BC, when he was sent to request Sparta’s help against the oncoming Persian army — began in central Athens on Friday with 323 athletes taking part.
The race kicked off at 7 a.m. on Friday in front of the Acropolis and will end in front of the statue of King Leonidas in Sparta, where the first athletes are expected to arrive on Saturday morning.
The Spartathlon is considered one of the most difficult ultra-long-distance races in the world and one that is also notable for its historic background. The exclusive sponsor of the race is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
This year, however, the Municipality of Sparta will offer only simple and solemn reception and award ceremony for the participating athletes as a sign of respect for the extensive destruction suffered in the Peloponnese during August’s destructive wildfires. The award ceremony will be held in the town’s central square on Saturday night.