Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Athens - The cradle of Western Civilization!

We have landed in Athens, Greece! It is the cradle of Western Civilization, the birthplace of democracy, of philosophy, of poetry, of arts and crafts.

The 2004 Olympics have completely "modernized" some of the infrastructure (a brand new airport and roads into the city center) making our arrival process smooth. We were greeted by "George" a local Greek guy working with The North Face in Greece. We all had a great walk through "Plaka", which is the ancient area of the city. Amazing maze of streets with great culture and various ancient ruins sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. The ancient part of the city felt very comfortable considering it is filled with 10 Million people!

George wanted to share the local flavor with us, so we found a great little outside cafe and enjoyed a mixed plate of fresh veggies, meats, hummus, along with a bottle of Ouzo. Just what every ultra runner needs to open the bloodstream prior to a 180km race!

A nice walk around the Acropolis at sunset with "peakaboo" views of the Parthenon, truly remarkable! We strolled back to our hotel and watched the changing of the guards at the Greek Parliment. The Greeks have a nice interpretation of "changing the guard".

We will get an upclose view of the Parthanon tomorrow, get some fresh food for our adventure ahead and find our way to the starting villages in Peloponnese.

Some info on the race that starts at 14:30 local, 05:30 Mtn Standard Time.......

The “AETHLIOS” International Long-Distance Running Association, with the organizing of this 180 km Race, every two years, aspires to bring to world attention the Ancient Games linked to two of the most resplendent Stadia of ancient times:

  • The ancient stadium of Ancient Nemea where, in our time, from 1996, are revived every 4 years the “ NEMEA” Games.

  • The stadium of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games where, for more than 12 centuries, had been glorified the Olympic Spirit and established the Sacred Truce. Here was lit formally for the first time in 776BC the Olympic Flame, just as in 1896 for the modern Olympic Games.

The layout of the route of the Race was based on knowledge of the most significant archaeological and historical evidence along the whole of its length, the beauty of the Peloponnese and the authenticity and hospitality of the villages which welcome the athletes as they pass through.
The route runs for 100 km along country roads with asphalt and 80 km of dirt tracks. The elevation differences total 3 800 meters.

Kim & Topher

1 comment:

Leonardo said...

"Every time you live through something like this, you'll be tougher for the next time. You've just got to keep fighting and fighting and fighting until it breaks, and it will break" - Dusty Baker

Ciao Topher, ciao Kim!
I hope you'll live a great adventure on greek soil. Thanks for letting us follow the race as if we where running with you! Keep fighting even if there will certainly be bad periods: they are a fact of ultrarunning, like thunders and lightining are facts of nature. So just ride through the inevitable bad times!