Good luck to the British Spartathlon Team, who may well be the toughest team you’ve never heard of.
On Friday the 25th September at 7am local time (5am GMT), a team of 21 British runners will start the gruelling Spartathlon event held every September in Greece.
The race sees some 390 runners from 42 different countries around the world attempt to make the 153-mile journey starting from the Acropolis in Athens to the statue of legendary King Leonidas in Sparta – a journey mimicking that of the Athenian messenger Pheidippides who ran the distance in advance of the 490BC Battle of Marathon to ask for Spartan help against the invading Persian forces.
Each runner will have to contend with a combination of the continuous non-stop nature of the race, the unforgiving heat, running through the night and a 1200 meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night. Runners must contend with all of these elements whilst trying to stay ahead of the race cut off times and reach their destination within 36 hours.
All of these aspects of the race will mean that only around a third of the runners who start will actually reach the finish.
The race doesn’t advertise or promote itself as the toughest or the hardest footrace in the world, it doesn’t need to. The challenge of finishing the event is obvious and runners participating in this event will experience both extreme physical and mental demands during the race.
The British Spartathlon Team plays a unique role in the race itself: RAF officers John Foden, John Scholtens and John McCarthy were the first three runners to complete the distance in 1982 when they set out to find if the story of Pheidippides could be repeated. Their success led to the first Open International Spartathlon Race a year later, and the formation of the International Spartathlon Association, the race’s governing body.
There is a strong British presence this year with the largest group of British runners that has ever taken part in the event and courtesy of Race Drone you can track the progress of the British team in real time via the following web link http://racedrone.net/event/spartathlon.
In addition there will be some live streaming of the race at the official Spartathlon Race website at http://www.spartathlon.gr/en and you can follow updates via the British Spartathlon Team official twitter account @SpartathletesUK
We wish the 2015 British Spartathlon Team every success for the event.
The team would also like to thank everyone who kindly sponsored and supported the team including Birmingham Runner, Bee Friends, Corr Recruitment, Floodies, RockTape, Newbury Runners, ULTRA Marathon Running Store, Ultra Sun, Race Drone and all the individual donations.