Doliho Ultra Marathon : Running between Delphi and Olympia

03 Nov 2011 07:09
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

§staticmap(10242,5,450,250)Hello, on May 4, 2012 you will be organizing the Doliho Ultra Marathon.Where is-it located?

The new race is located between the two famous archeological sites of Delphi for the start and Olympia for the finish. The race is 260 km long to be run in 43 hours.

This is the first edition of the race. Why was it created in the first place?

The race was created by a team of Greek ultrarunners and a few other persons with longstanding experience in ultrarunning organizations to offer Greek ultrarunners their “own” race set up by their fellow-runners and, at the same time, a race with a new timing, distance and selection of the route concept with 50% rough tracks and 50% asphalt-laid roads.

It is actually the longest foot race in Greece and one of the longest on European scale. However, the length of the race was not the objective sought from the start, it is actually the distance itself between the two sites that has established the distance of the race. Efforts will be made in the days to come to reduce it by a few kilometers.

Delphi - Apollo TheaterCredit : Institute for the Study of the Ancient WorldWhat kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The route has to follow the terrain configuration between the two sites and is divided in two parts.

The first part, stretching from Delphi to the Rio-Antirrio bridge, is a rather flat seaside area, still very enjoyable under the full moon (the race starts at 6 pm).

And the second part from Rio to Olympia is getting across mountain tracks up to 1,100 m disclosing a magnificent panoramic view for more than 100 km.

How many runners do you expect on Friday evening? What type of runner would you attract?

As a first edition of a race just starting to get known among runners worldwide, I cannot state any number for the time being. However, we would be pleased with some 50-60 runners.

This is a 260 km race and is mostly addressed to runners with long experience in running distances over 200 km. However, runners with less experience could also take part to measure their endurance in longer distances and thus upgrading themselves step by step.

Rio-Antirrio bridgeCredit : Sense HofstedeDo you organize other races during the weekend? If so, on what distance?

No, we do not organize anything else.

At that time of the year what kind of weather can we expect?

The weather is mild and temperatures should vary between 20-23°C.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

There might be some local festivities at mountain villages with music and food to welcome the athletes stopping for a while at Check Points.

For local people this is quite of an event. As far as we are concerned we offer our athletes guided visits to the two sites and their Museums and we will make efforts to officially associate the event with the historical journey to Delphi in ancient times to search Pythia’s oracle at the opening of the Olympic Games in conjunction with today’s celebrations at Olympia, the weekend following our race, to mark the opening of the modern Olympic Games in London next year.

OlympiaCredit : Jorge AndradeThe race finished what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Delphi before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Runners will have two days to spend at Delphi prior to the race. The visit to the site and Museum is a must. It is a lifetime’s experience. Then they can enjoy walking around and discover the majestic landscape of the most renowned sanctuary of ancient Greece.

If they fancy a meal, local restaurants or tavernas are well-known for the quality of their food, especially grilled lamb chops.

In a single sentence what could you tell the readers of ahotu Marathon to register for the Doliho Ultra Marathon?

If they like challenges this is the race to enjoy living the thrill and the emotion throughout its course!

Interview with Yannis Papamichail.