Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Wheels are Being 'Greeced'!

 As some of you may know, my top "Dream Race" for many years has been the Spartathlon in Greece. Running this race from the steps of the Parthenon in Athens to the statue of King Leonidas in Sparta would allow me to celebrate my academic interests and physical skills over the course of 153 historic miles. Let's face it, is there a better place for an ultra-running Classics major to be?
King Leo's anger reminds us all that it wasn't easy to replace an arrow-pierced Camelbak 2600 years ago
Here's a brief history of the race:

The Spartathlon aims to trace footsteps of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. Pheidippides, according to an account by Greek historian Herodotus in The Persian Wars, arrived in Sparta the day after he departed. 

Herodotus wrote: "On the occasion of which we speak when Pheidippides was sent by the Athenian generals, and, according to his own account, he reached Sparta on the very next day after leaving the city of Athens." 

Based on this account, British RAF Wing Commander John Foden and four other RAF officers traveled to Greece in 1982 on an official expedition to test whether it was possible to cover the nearly 250 kilometers in a day and a half. Three runners were successful in completing the distance: John Foden (37:37), John Scholtens (34:30) and John McCarthy in (39:00).  For twenty-eight consecutive years since, the Spartathlon athletes have followed the route John Foden and his team defined in an official race.

Of course with work, money, health, and a whole bunch of other stuff you can throw under the umbrella of "life" getting in the way every year, it's been a bit of a challenge for me to find the right time to actually get across the pond to run this thing.  ...and while I'm not ready to announce anything official yet, I am happy to report that the past couple days have brought about some very good news in terms of this being The Year for me to run the race. Lots of other ducks still need to fall in a row, but a couple big pieces are in place and I'm about ready to head down to the photo booth to finish up my application and send it in the mail...
Sure, my running form is just like Pheidippidies' up there
This will be an evolving situation over the next couple months, but I'm cautiously optimistic that things will all work out and I'll be running in the footsteps of the original ultra-runner come September 30.  Oh yeah, and I really want to avenge my failure in France by kicking some major ass in this race for the USA too!

10 comments:

Brian Schmidt said...

Hopefully the ducks will continue to fall in the correct order.

Jason Lantz said...

Eat the ducks!

Ric Munoz said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed everything works out -- what a great coup it'll be for you to run this race! We'll all experience it vicariously through you. I'd give anything to run it myself, but that madness of covering the first 50 miles in 9 hours definitely rules me out. Good luck!

Mike said...

Dan,

My only advice is to watch out for those pesky Persians. Don't let King Xerxes fool you with his bling. May you return home with your shield, or on it. For sparta, to the death!

Theia said...

Wow! Good luck. I hope it all works out for you.

Sincerely,
A Greek who stumbled onto your blog :)

Dan Rose said...

Thanks, Everyone! The application has been mailed off to Greece, so now I wait...

Maybe I'll have some baklava and ouzo this weekend for good luck!

Runner Tammy said...

AWESOME Dan!!!

I will keep my fingers crossed for you. I know you will do a great job at Spartathon (as well as any other race you might get into...because as I recall your name is in the Hardrock lottery:-)

Don't forget to bring us all home some Baklava after your trip to Greece...Baklava is as good as cupcakes as a race treat in my world:-)

ned barrett said...

Dan,

Im really like reading yuor blog, and look forward to the Spartathlon report!

Ned Barrett

{S} said...

quack quack!! great news.

John said...

Is there no else? lol... =)

By the way you got a nice blog here...



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