SKYRUNNER WORLD SERIES 2019: AN ASCENT TO THE HOME OF GODS, IT IS TIME FOR OLYMPUS MARATHON
On the weekend, athletes from all over the world will run in the footsteps of the ancient Olympians for the seventh race of the 2019 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series. The Olympus Marathon, 44km and 3,200m vertical gain which revives the pilgrimage of the ancient Greeks to Mount Olympus, where they ascended every year to honor and sacrifice to Zeus.
This will not be an ordinary race but a real skyrace on the mountain of the Gods.
OLYMPUS MARATHON 2019 (44K/D+3200m): An ascent to Mount Olympus
The race start is right in the heart of the archaeological site of Dion, three meters above sea level near the foothills of Mount Olympus. The course climbs the mountain with views extending to the surrounding higher peaks with the ‘Throne of Zeus’ dominating the Mousses Plateau with its prominent outline. The trail climbs to pass below the ‘Throne’ and reaches the highest point at 2,780m. The downhill to the finish line seems endless but after a visit to the home of the Gods, inspiration goes a long way.
A big ascent to the Mount Olympus of 2700 meters in the first 20 kilometers to finishing downhill to the end.
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. Runners will try to beat the current course records from 2017 taken by Aritz Egea 4h24’26” and Ragna Debats 5h18’20”.
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.
Current ranking of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series based on the best four points results, of which no more than two can be SuperSky Races, plus the SkyMasters points.
- Elisa Desco ITA 356
- Megan Kimmel USA 320
- Ragna DEBATS NED 280
- Oriol Cardona ESP 300
- Ruy Ueda JPN 300
- Thibaut GARRIVIER FRA 248