Olympus race: 'Mountain of the Gods' marathon returns to Greek capital

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By Isabella Jewell  & Euronews
Runners cross the line at the Olympus marathon
Runners cross the line at the Olympus marathon   -   Copyright  Euronews

Hundreds of athletes travelled to Greece this weekend to tackle the Olympus Marathon, a challenging race over rough terrain and up steep mountain paths. 

The 43-kilometre run around Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, almost perfectly retraced the ancient holy pilgrimage from Dion to the mountain's summits.

Thousands of years ago, these peaks were thought to be the home of the Greek gods, and pilgrims would come here to make sacrifices to Zeus. 

Nowadays, the only sacrifice taking place is that of the runners' bodies, as they powered up a 3,350-metre ascent.

This year's map was slightly different compared to previous years, with changes made to comply with the Greek authorities' decision making Mount Olympus a national park.

The 524 runners began their race in Dion at sunrise, following an uphill route for 21 kilometres to reach Muses Plateau. 

They then crossed Zonaria, below the Throne of Zeus, and started their descent via the Zolotas refuge, Prionia and Enipeas Gorge, before completing their exciting race in Litochoro town.

This year’s great winner was Spaniard Miguel Heras, with a time of 04:54:20. The second place went to Greek elite runner Dimitris Theodorakakos of Salomon Hellas, with a time of 05:00:39, closely followed by David Prades of Trangoworld-Scarpa, also from Spain, with a time of 05:03:32.

In the women’s race, Maria Malai of The Runner’s Project topped the podium, taking first place with a time of 05:52:20, followed by Dimitra Bika of Scott Running Greece with a time of 06:01:55, and Fotini Koloka of Salomon Hellas 06:29:34.