This Saturday, June 29, over 700 athletes from 36 countries will run in the footsteps of the ancient Olympians for the seventh race of the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series. The historical course of Olympus Marathon revives the pilgrimage of the ancient Greeks and has become known as the only race where athletes run side by side with Gods.
A Race of History
The legendary race takes place at the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans, Mount Olympus, known for hosting the 12 Olympian ancient Gods. The 44 km course with 3,200m vertical gain begins in the archaeological town of Dion, home of the ancient Olympic Games, Dion in Macedonia, and ends in Litochoro.
The unique route revives the pilgrimage of the ancient Greeks to Mount Olympus, where they ascended every year to honor and sacrifice to Zeus. Starting at just three meters above sea level, the course climbs to a maximum height of 2,700m passing below the towering and breathtakingly impressive peak, the Throne of Zeus.
Modern-Day Greek Heroes Assemble at the Start Line
With so much history, culture, beauty and myth surrounding this skyrace, it’s no wonder that Olympus Marathon has attracted athletes from all over the world, as well as local heroes and modern-day Olympians.
Similar to the all-time greats of the ancient Olympic games who would compete in honor of Zeus, Dimitrios Theodorakakos and Dimitrios Seletis, will be amongst the strong field of contenders behind the starting line this Saturday. The Greek athletes dominated the podium last year with Theodorakakos taking home the title and Seletis placing an impressive third – a performance that surely would have impressed the God of Mount Olympus himself.
“Being Greek and knowing that the soil we are running on is ‘’Mythical’’ I can feel a different energy that I can’t describe. Maybe it’s just happiness and excitement for being there, or something that has to do with our ancient roots. Whatever it is, I always anticipate to feel it again and again. Last year was indeed a rewarding performance for me. My expectations are always the same. I want to be able to push myself as hard as possible. This, and only this, will satisfy me at the finish line.” explains 2018 Olympus Marathon champion, Theodorakakos.
Elite skyrunners brave enough to take on the Greeks on Mount Olympus include: Pere Aurell of Spain, winner of the 2019 Madeira Skyrace; Thibaut Garrivier of France, winner of the 2019 Transvulcania Ultramarathon; Zaid Ait Malek of Spain, fifth at the 2019 Livigno SkyMarathon and Weston Hill of New Zealand, fifth at the 2019 Madeira Skyrace.
Ragna Debats, 2017 Olympus Marathon champion, and course record holder leads the field of female warriors. The Dutch star, who is currently third in the overall ranking, will return to the only Greek race of the series with her partner Pere Aurell. Both are among the favorites to win.
Debats’ main competitor will no doubt be Italy’s Elisa Desco. By announcing her last-minute participation, Desco tells us she’s not willing to give up her number one position in the overall ranking to Debats anytime soon. Anne-Lise Rousset of France, who placed second behind Debats in Transvulcania will also be behind the starting line as well as Greece’s top skyrunning lady, Dimitra Bika, who took home an impressive fourth place last year.
Tune in to the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter this Saturday, June 29, from 06:00 am for updates and to see who will come out victorious at the legendary Olympus Marathon.