There are a few things you should know about the race:
- It’s one lap of a standard athletics track so only 400m
- It’s run on the basis of original (ancient Greek) Olympic rules so competitors are barefoot and naked. Local civic authorities mandate underwear is compulsory but that’s it
- Entry qualification is incredibly tough. You have to have been on the start line for Spartathlon 2 days before. Spartathlon finishers as well as those who tried but failed are allowed to compete
This was my third Spartathlon but my first where we were staying in Sparta after the race so I was determined to make it to the start. The race is at 11 am so only 24 hrs after my Spartathlon DNF* and spell on a drip in the medical tent at the finish. Fortunately, our apartment was less than a mile from the start so we got there at 10:30 and found the track. Warming up was gentle and I discovered I could at least hobble around without falling over so I felt pretty confident. As we stripped off I saw a hundred honed bodies with not a shred of body fat. All looked like they had gone through hell in the last two days and should be on a medical ward not a track. We lined up, all prepping our watches – “damn right this was going on Strava!”
The crowd counted down from 10 and we were off. I set off at a slow jog and settled into a strong shuffle. A lead group pulled away, but with no team vests it was hard to see where the British team were placed. As we hit the final bend a couple of runners surged ahead but I had no pace to stay with the action and just tried to maintain my shuffling and not suffer the indignity of a second DNF in a week.
A great event that I recommend to anyone but a lot of work just to get to the start line, so you have to really like 400m running in your pants.
1st Matt Collins – USA
2nd Dave Stuart- UK
Other positions unclassified
David Barker- 2:36
Video below but not for the faint hearted